MERIC NEWS LETTER

Eighty-Eight Percent of Missourians Have Health Insurance


    Recently released data from the US Census
    Bureau's
Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance
    Coverage in the United States: 2005
" indicates
    that over 88 percent of all Missourians surveyed
    over a three-year period have health insurance
    coverage. That’s above the national average of
    just over 84 percent.


    Missouri ranked 16th among all the states plus the
    District of Columbia in its percentage of people
    with health insurance coverage from 2003 to 2005.
    Last was Texas, at 75 percent; first, Minnesota,
    91 percent.

In general, the Midwest and Northeast ranked high in percentage of people with health insurance, and the West (with the exception of Hawaii) and South did not. The Midwest's uninsured rates in 2005 was 11.9, and that of the Northeast 12.3.

The Midwest had 10 states in the top 20; the Northeast eight. With the exception of the Aloha State, not one Western or Southern state even cracked the top 20.

Average, 2003-2005, Health Insurance
Coverage, Top 20 States  

State

Percentage

Minnesota    

91.3

Hawaii    

90.5

Iowa    

90.2

Wisconsin    

89.7

Maine    

89.6

New Hampshire 

89.6

Massachusetts    

89.3

Vermont    

89.3

Kansas    

89.1

Connecticut    

89

Rhode Island    

89

North Dakota    

88.8

Pennsylvania    

88.8

Michigan    

88.7

Nebraska    

88.6

Missouri    

88.1

Ohio    

88

South Dakota    

87.9

Delaware    

87.3

District of Columbia    

86.5

Missouri Compared
Missouri also fared well compared to neighboring states. Among its neighbors, only Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska had higher rates of insurance coverage; Oklahoma, at 80 percent, was fourth worst in the country.

Average, 2003-2005, Health Insurance Coverage, Mo. and Neighbors

State

Percentage

Iowa    

90.2

Kansas    

89.1

Nebraska    

88.6

Missouri    

88.1

Kentucky    

86.4

Tennessee    

86.3

Illinois    

85.8

Arkansas    

82.8

Oklahoma    

80.5

Bigger Is Not Better
The report further indicates that larger states do not necessarily have higher rates of insurance. The tiny District of Columbia, for example, ranked 20th in the three-year average, with over 86 percent. That’s well above the rankings of such large-population states as New York (24th), Illinois (27th), New Jersey (30th) and Florida (49th).

Even states with recent population and economic growth such as Georgia, Colorado and Nevada ranked poorly. California, the most populous state and the state with the largest gross state product by far ($1.47 trillion in 2005) was fifth worst, with only about 81 percent of its population covered by health insurance.

The study does not attempt to explain this phenomenon, but income disparity may be a root cause.

Race and Income
The number of people with health insurance coverage in the entire United States increased from 245.9 million in 2004 to 247.3 million in 2005, says the report. In 2005, 46.6 million people were without health insurance coverage, up from 45.3 million people in 2004. 

Fifteen percent of whites were without health insurance coverage in 2005, compared to 19.6 of blacks and 17.9 percent of Asians. Lack of health insurance is also far more prevalent in lower- than in upper-income households. Almost a quarter of households earning less than $25,000 a year in household income have no health coverage, compared to less than 10 percent of households earning more than $75,000 annually.

Individuals without Health Insurance by Household Income

Income

Percent

>$25,000

24.4

$25,000-49,999

20.6

$50,000-74,999

14.1

$75,000+

8.5

Meanwhile, the nation’s official poverty rate remained statistically unchanged from 2004 to 2005 at 12.6 percent.

Source: US Census Bureau, “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2005” LINE


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