Reliable access to healthcare is essential to a person’s quality of life. With the cost of healthcare continuing to skyrocket, the best way to be sure you’ll get the care you need is by having health insurance.
As important as health insurance is in securing a future for your health and your finances, many states are lagging well behind the rest of the country when it comes to the percentage of their population with health insurance, according to a new study from GOBankingRates.
The study looked at the percentage of each state’s population that’s uninsured, the percentage of the labor force that’s uninsured and the total number of uninsured people in the state, scoring the states in each category, weighting the uninsured percentage double and then combining the scores to determine a final ranking.
The numbers provide some interesting insight into how the nation’s uninsured population breaks down geographically. For starters, the nationwide uninsured rate comes in at 11.7 percent, which is higher than the figure for 31 states plus Washington, D.C. That means that those 19 states with uninsured rates higher than 11.7 percent are significantly pulling up the average for the rest of the country.
There were also two regions that stood out from the rest but for opposite reasons. The South appears to have significantly higher uninsured rates than the nation as a whole, with nine Southern states among the bottom 15 in this study. On the opposite end of the spectrum, though, is New England, which had four states among the top 10 in the study and no states that finished outside the top 20.
Also notable was how the 19 states that refused the Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act fared. There is clearly some correlation between states that rejected the expansion and those with high rates of uninsured people, with 14 of the bottom 25 states in the study having rejected the additional Medicaid funding. However, that was by no means consistent, as some states showed low uninsured rates even though they did not expand their Medicaid programs. Wisconsin, in particular, ranked among the top 10 in the study despite refusing the Medicaid expansion.
Here’s a look at how all 50 states and Washington, D.C., ranked:
|3. District of Columbia||5.2|
|10. Rhode Island||8|
|14. New Hampshire||8.4|
|16. New York||8.6|
|17. North Dakota||8.6|
|19. West Virginia||9.6|
|24. South Dakota||10.3|
|28. New Jersey||10.7|
|38. North Carolina||13.2|
|39. South Carolina||13.3|
|44. New Mexico||14.4|
Click through to read about retirement survival strategies for rising healthcare costs.
Methodology: GOBankingRates analyzed social and economic characteristics for each of the 50 states in the U.S., using data sourced from the Census Bureau’s 2016 American Community Survey. States were evaluated in terms of: 1) insured population, 2) percent of population insured, 3) uninsured population and 4) percent of population uninsured.