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KHIP: Nearly 90 percent of Kentuckians report having health coverage, but some still worry about losing it

Health care is an issue that’s at the front of mind for many policymakers, businesses and families in Kentucky. As health policy decisions are debated, it is helpful to understand how residents of the Commonwealth pay for health care. Thus, the 2018 Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) asked Kentucky adults about their health insurance coverage.

KHIP, which is sponsored by Interact for Health and Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, found that about 1 in 10 of Kentucky adults age 18 to 64 (11%) reported that they did not have health insurance at the time of the survey. This is similar to national results: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13% of all American adults in this age range lacked health insurance in the first half of 2018. Because nearly all adults age 65 and older have access, older adults were not included when analyzing responses to these questions.

“Health insurance coverage opens a door to the health care system,” said O’dell Moreno Owens, M.D., M.P.H., President and CEO of Interact for Health. “A lack of adequate insurance makes it difficult for people to get the health care they need and, when they do get care, burdens them with large medical bills. People with coverage are better equipped to promote and maintain health, prevent and manage disease, and reduce unnecessary disability and premature death.”

Most Kentucky adults have stable health coverage

To further understand access to health care in the Commonwealth, KHIP asked respondents who were currently insured whether they had lacked coverage at any time in the preceding 12 months. The survey found that about 8% of Kentucky adults had a lapse in coverage within the past year, about the same as in 2017.

KHIP also looked at concerns about losing health coverage, asking respondents if they worried they might, in the next 12 months, have a gap in insurance. Such worries declined in 2018, with 16% of Kentucky adults reporting that they thought they would lose coverage, compared with 24% who expressed that concern in 2017.

“We know that certain populations, including racial and ethnic minorities and lower-income adults, are more likely to have lapses in their health care coverage,” said Owens. “Ensuring that all people have access to a stable source of health care is one tool to reduce health disparities in Kentucky.”

Nearly half of Kentucky adults receive coverage from an employer

KHIP found that in 2018, more Kentucky adults reported that they received health insurance coverage through their own employer or their spouse’s employer (48%) than in 2017 (39%). An additional 3 in 10 (27%) of Kentucky adults said they were covered via public insurance, which includes Medicaid, Medicaid and veterans’ benefits; and about 1 in 10 indicated that they purchased their own plans, were covered by another source or a parents’ plan, or didn’t know the source of their coverage.

From Interact for Health

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