Gallup Poll: Idaho's Uninsured Rate Dropped Since Health Insurance Exchange Opened

Feb 24, 2015

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Between 2013 and 2014, the number of Idahoans who went without health insurance fell by 4.7 percentage points.

The Idaho Statesman reports on a new Gallup poll that shows the Gem State saw a jump in insurance policies purchased in that timeframe. The uninsured rate went from 19.9 percent in 2013 to 15.2 percent the following year.

Idaho had the second-steepest drop in uninsured among all states that did not implement two key elements of the Affordable Care Act: creating a health-insurance exchange and expanding Medicaid. Montana ranked highest, with an uninsured rate that dropped five-hundredths-of-a-percent more than Idaho's.

Idaho opened a health insurance exchange in 2014 for residents to use for purchasing health insurance plans, which often came with premium subsidies for low- and mid-income people.

But Idaho lawmakers did not expand the state's Medicaid program to all poor adults — about 80,000 people.

Still, a large number of Idahoans with income up to 400 percent of the poverty line signed up for health insurance through the exchange. - Idaho Statesman

The poll shows Arkansas and Kentucky as having seen the greatest reductions in uninsured. But unlike Idaho, those states opted to expand Medicaid.

According to previous data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 18.9 percent of Idahoans under the age of 65 didn't have health insurance in 2011. That number was higher in rural counties.

Read the complete Idaho Statesman story here.

Find Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

Copyright 2015 Boise State Public Radio