Census shows uninsured rate at record low

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The percentage of MA residents without health insurance fell again past year, to a new low of 2.5 percent, the US Census Bureau said Tuesday.

A new United States Census Bureau report shows the percentage of uninsured Texans dropped from 22.1 percent in 2013 to 16.6 percent in 2016.

Before the Affordable Care Act was implemented, about 41.8 million people, or 13.3% of Americans, were uninsured in 2013.

The data shows that 2016 was the third straight year the bureau found a decline in the share of people without health insurance.

The ACA helped lower the uninsured rate by ushering in new health insurance requirements and expanding eligibility for coverage.

But Vance Ginn, senior economist for the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, said states with expanded Medicaid coverage do not necessarily improve residents' health outcomes. By Jan. 1, 2016, 30 states opted to expand Medicaid. The uninsured rate for Medicaid "expansion states" in 2016 was 6.5 percent, compared to 11.7 percent in states that did not expand eligibility.

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"For more than 10 years, MA has been a leader in providing access to health care coverage to everyone", MA secretary of health and human services Marylou Sudders said in a statement. Privately insured individuals get coverage through an employer or union, or buy it directly from an insurer or through a health insurance exchange.

Different organizations have come up with different estimates for the level of health insurance coverage in MA, but all agree that the state has been a leader in coverage.

Job-based insurance continued to be the most common source of coverage. Medicaid now covers more than 19 percent of the population and Medicare almost 17 percent. Military-based health plans covered another 4.6 percent of people.

That's down from 2.8 percent of MA residents who went without health insurance in 2015, and 3.7 percent who were uninsured in 2013.

For expansion states, the uninsured rate ranged from 2.5 percent in MA to 14 percent in Alaska.

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