Having insurance is vital to the health of your family and your wallet. It can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket medical expenses, the leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the U.S. Today, however, 11.7 percent of all Americans — many of whom earn a low income — remain without coverage.
Across states, rates of uninsured individuals vary dramatically. Yet following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act — popularly dubbed “Obamacare” — there was plenty of talk but a shortage of real information consumers could use to compare states by insurance-coverage rates. Why? In part because there was no reliable estimate of the proportion of private health-insurance enrollees under Obamacare who were previously uninsured and became eligible for coverage under the new law.
Now that such information is available, WalletHub’s analysts were able to measure the uninsured rates post-Obamacare in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. To provide an even broader perspective of those rates, we broke the national figures down to the state level and other categories such as race and income level.
Ask the Experts
With the 2016 presidential election potentially altering the existence or provisions of the ACA, wallethub asked a panel of experts to weigh in on the future of the health care mandate. Click on the experts’ profiles to read their bios and thoughts.
Red States vs. Blue States
In order to measure the rates of uninsured by state — before and after the implementation of the ACA — WalletHub’s analysts compared the overall insurance rates in the 50 states and the District of Columbia between 2014 and 2010 using U.S. Census Bureau data. In addition to the overall insurance rate, they compared the states based on age, race/ethnicity, income and type of insurer.
An overall rank of No. 1 was awarded to the state with the lowest uninsured rate. As you view the findings in the tables, the following definitions of key terms:
- Absolute Difference – refers to the difference between the percentage of uninsured/insured in 2014 and 2010. A small change in the absolute difference is not necessarily a bad thing, as the percentage of uninsured people pre-Obamacare may have already been low to start with.
- Relative Difference – refers to the percentage of uninsured that was reduced to bring the uninsured rate to zero. The result was calculated as follows:
(Uninsured Rate in 2014 – Uninsured Rate in 2010) / (0 – Uninsured Rate in 2010)
Health Insurance Rate by Age Group
- Health Insurance Rate for Children (Aged 0–17)
- Health Insurance Rate for Adults (Aged 18+)
Health Insurance Rate by Race/Ethnicity
- Health Insurance Rate for Black or African Americans vs. White Alone (not Hispanic or Latino)
- Health Insurance Rate for Hispanic or Latino vs. White Alone (not Hispanic or Latino)
Health Insurance Rate by Household Income
- Health Insurance Rate for Lower-Income People (Income <$50,000) vs. High-Income People (Income >$100,000)
Health Insurance Rate by Type of Insurer
- Private Health Insurance Rate vs. Public Health Insurance Rate
Employer-Based Health Insurance Rate
- Number of Employer-Based Health Insurance/Total Population Aged 0–64
Note: Some individuals have coverage under both a public and private insurance plan. As a result an adjustment was made to proportionally reduce the percentage of residents covered under each plan so that we can clearly determine the impact that each type of plan had in reducing the number of uninsured residents.
Sources: Data used to create these rankings were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau.
This feature originally appeared in Wallethub.