Kentucky’s uninsured rate continues to drop; now 9 percent

The share of Kentuckians who have no health coverage has dropped to 9 percent, according to the latest data from The Gallup Organization. That makes Kentucky second, following Arkansas, among the states in the percentage of formerly uninsured who now have insurance, either with private insurance or the federal-state Medicaid program.

In 2013, prior to implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Kentucky’s uninsured rate was 20.4 percent. The rate dropped to 9.8 percent in 2014 and even further to 9 percent during the first half of 2015, according to the poll. Nationally, the uninsured rate fell from 17.3 percent in 2013 to 11.7 percent in the first half of 2015.

Most of the states with the highest reduction in their percentage of uninsured rates were states that chose to expand Medicaid, establish a state-based marketplace exchange or state-federal partnership, according to the poll results. States that enacted both of these reforms saw a 44 percent reduction in their uninsured rates since 2013, compared to a 28 percent reduction in states that did one of these reforms, or neither.

Kentucky did both, creating its own state-based exchange, Kynect, and expanding Medicaid to those making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty rate. More than 521,000 people obtained health insurance coverage through Kynect in 2014, either through a private plan or Medicaid.

A recent Gallup poll released in July found that almost equal numbers of Americans approve and disapprove of the eeform law. This is a huge shift from last year when 37 percent said they approved of the law and 56 said they disapproved. Differences continue to be defined by political party lines, with 83 percent of Democrats and 14 percent of Republicans saying they approved of the law in this most recent poll. The error margin in this poll is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

“This is happening as uninsured rates for most states have continued to decline,” the report notes.

For the 2013 poll in Kentucky, the sample size was 2,755, for an error margin of plus or minus 1.87 percentage points. For the first half of 2015, the sample size was 1,350, for an error margin of plus or minus 2.67 percentage points.

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