KHI News Service

Kansas uninsured rate climbs while nation’s declines

By Jim McLean | September 12, 2012


Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2011

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The number of Kansans without health insurance continued to increase last year but the number of Americans who lacked coverage declined for the first time since the start of the recession.

According to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 365,000 Kansans were uninsured in 2010-2011 compared to about 350,000 in 2009-2010. The increase was enough to bump the state’s uninsured rate up to 13.1 percent from 12.8 percent.

The Kansas increase is not statistically significant, meaning it could be attributable to the survey’s margin of error. However, it is consistent with a trend that has seen Kansas’ uninsured rate climb from 9.7 percent in 2000-2001 to the current 13.1 percent.

Nationally, it’s a different story. The number of uninsured Americans dropped in 2011 for the first time since 2007, declining to 48.6 million from 50 million the year before. The uninsured rate fell to 15.7 percent from 16.3 percent.

Because smaller sample sizes at the state level make the data less reliable, state estimates are based on two-year averages. National estimates are for single years.

The improvement in the national numbers was driven in part by a substantial increase in the number of young adults (19-25) who obtained coverage in 2011. Many of them took advantage of a provision in the federal health reform law that allowed them to remain as dependents on their parents’ policies until age 26.

A preliminary analysis of the Census Bureau data by analysts at the Kansas Health Institute indicates there wasn’t a similar increase in young-adult coverage in Kansas.

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