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ITUP Summary of Findings from the National Health Insurance Survey

The Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Health Statistics released its 2014 survey results on health insurance status for the nation.

Thirty-six million (11.5% of the nation’s residents) were uninsured at the time of their interview. The nation’s rate of uninsurance for adults fell from 22.3% in 2010 to 16.3% in 2014. The rate of uninsurance for young adults (19-25) fell from 33.9% in 2010 to 20.0% in 2014. The numbers of uninsured nationally fell from 48.6 million in 2010 to 36 million in 2014.

The percentages of uninsured ranged from highs of 21.5% in Texas and Oklahoma and 21.2% in Alaska to lows of 2.5% in Hawaii, 3.2% in Massachusetts and 3.3% in Washington D.C. California, which used to be competing with states like Texas and New Mexico for the highest uninsured rates, is now at 13.4%, just about the national average. Its uninsured rates for adults 18-64 fell from 24.4% in 2012 to 16.7% in 2014. Its uninsured rates for children fell from 6.7% in 2012 to 5.0% in 2014.

California’s rate of private insurance is 60.6%, below the national average of 63.6% and far below leading states like New Jersey (74.4%), Hawaii (72.8%) and Massachusetts (72.2%). Thirty-seven percent of those with private insurance are enrolled in high deductible health plans – a percentage that is increasing.

California’s rate of public insurance is 26.8%, a bit above the national average of 24.5% and far below the leaders such as Kentucky (36%), New Mexico (37.4%) and Washington DC (32.4%).

Between 2013 and 2014 as the ACA was implemented, the rates of uninsurance fell precipitously for the poor (39.3% to 32.3%) and near poor (28.5% to 30.9%), falling as well as for the non-poor (11.4% to 8.9%).

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States with state-based Exchanges like California had a sharper reduction in their uninsured rates between 2013 and 2014 than did those states with federal Exchanges, and they had strong growth in their rates of private insurance.

States with Medicaid expansions like California achieved sharper reductions in their uninsured rates (18.4% to 13.3%) between 2013 and 2014 than did those states, which refused to expand Medicaid (22.7% to 19.6%).

The results are that states which have resisted ACA implementation like Texas and Oklahoma have maintained their very high rates of uninsured while states like California and New Mexico (21% uninsured in 2012 to 14% uninsured in 2014) that have enthusiastically implemented it have seen large reductions in their rates of uninsured.

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