Census Report: High Number Of Idahoans Are Uninsured

Sep 16, 2014

The percentage of Idahoans with no health insurance was unchanged between 2012 and 2013. A new report from the U.S. Census Bureau says 16.2 percent of the state’s residents lacked health coverage in 2013. That’s about 257,000 people.

The nation as a whole saw a slight decline in the uninsured in that time, from 14.8 percent in 2012 to 14.5 percent in 2013.

Credit census.gov

Idaho's uninsured rate was among the highest in the country. Twelve states were higher, including Idaho’s neighbors Montana and Nevada.   

When the numbers are crunched next year Idaho might see a substantial change. As of the end of March 2014 (the most recent numbers available) more than 76,000 Idahoans had purchased insurance through the state’s health insurance exchange. Exchanges like Idaho’s were one of the provisions of Obamacare meant to get insurance for more people. The first of those insurance policies went into effect in January of this year.  

Still a recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation says 55,000 uninsured Idahoans are too poor to qualify for subsidies through the exchange, but not poor enough to get Medicaid. A disproportionate number of them are Hispanic.

Obamacare sought to expand Medicaid coverage to every state but the Supreme Court made that optional. Earlier this year Idaho lawmakers decided not to expand Medicare.

Find reporter Adam Cotterell on Twitter @cotterelladam

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