28% of Ky. adults 18-64 say they lack health coverage; 41% lacked it sometime in last year; employer coverage down since ’08

Nearly three in 10 working-age adults in Kentucky are not covered by any form of health insurance, and the number who get health insurance from their employer, or their spouse’s employer, has plummeted since 2008, the first year of the Great Recession, according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll. The decline accelerated in the last year, and was accompanied by a big jump in the percentage on public insurance.

The poll, taken Sept. 20 through Oct. 14, found that 28 percent of adults aged 18 to 64 said they had no health insurance at the time they were interviewed, and 41 percent said they had been uninsured at some point in the previous year.

The survey found that 37 percent get their insurance from an employer or spouse’s employer, well below the 55 percent figure in a similar poll in 2008. Conversely, 27 percent are now covered by some form of public insurance, way up from the 10 percent in 2008.

Medicaid in Kentucky covers households with incomes up to 70 percent of the federal poverty threshold; 43 percent of working-age adults living at or below that level reported being uninsured last fall. Among those with incomes more than double the poverty level for their size household, 15 percent said they were uninsured.

The poll was conducted for the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. Pollsters contacted a random sample of 1,680 adults throughout Kentucky by telephone, including landlines and cell phones. The poll questioned only working-age adults about insurance because 98 percent of seniors have some form of health coverage. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

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