A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Census Report: Kentucky has largest drop in percentage of those without health insurance


Uninsured map from Census

Kentucky led the nation in the largest drop in the percentage of residents without health insuramnce from 2013 to 2014, according to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The percentage of uninsured Kentuckians dropped to 8.5 percent in 2014 from 14.3 percent in 2013. The drop of 5.8 percentage points was double the national decrease of 2.9 percent. The report says 366,000 Kentuckians were uninsured in 2014, down 250,000 from 616,000 in 2013.

“The information from the U.S. Census Bureau is yet another independent, unbiased confirmation that Kentucky is on the path to make transformational changes in the lives and health of our commonwealth and the hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians who have qualified for health care coverage through Kynect since Jan. 1, 2014,” said Gov. Steve Beshear, who created the state health-insurance exchange where Kentuckians enroll in Medicaid or private insurance subsidized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

This report confirms other public and private surveys that have shown a significant decrease in the number of Kentuckians without insurance since the implementation of the ACA which took full effect Jan. 1, 2014. The survey results differ slightly due to methodology.

The Gallup Organization reported in August that Kentucky’s uninsured rate dropped to 9 percent during the first half of 2015, compared to 20.4 percent in 2013.

The surveys show that states that expanded Medicaid eligibility, to people in households with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line, saw the greatest reductions of their uninsured populations. In Kentucky the expansion covers about 400,000 people.

In 2014, the state with the lowest percentage of people without health insurance was Massachusetts (3.3 percent), while the highest uninsured rate was for Texas (19.1 percent), according to the Census Bureau report.

From Kentucky Health News, an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

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