Map: Rural Idaho Counties Have Largest Share Of Uninsured People

Aug 29, 2013

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The number of uninsured Idahoans has dropped to its lowest level since 2007. Data released Thursday from the U.S. Census Bureau shows 18.9 percent of Idahoans under the age of 65 didn't have health insurance in 2011. That marks a decline in the share of uninsured Idahoans since 2010 when the rate was 20.3 percent.

Nationally, just 14 other states, mostly in the West and South, had more people without health insurance than Idaho.

The Census data goes a step further by breaking down the number of uninsured Idahoans by county. In 2011, 31 of Idaho's 44 counties had higher uninsured rates than the state average. As this interactive map shows, Owhyee, Clark, Lincoln, Teton and Jerome have the largest percentages of people without health insurance.

Census also parses the information by gender, race, and poverty rates. Nearly one-third of Idahoans at 138 percent of the federal poverty level don't have health insurance. Through the federal health care law, some states have chosen to expand Medicaid coverage to people at 138 percent of poverty. Idaho has yet to act on expanding Medicaid to more low-income Idahoans. Idaho is one of 21 states that have not expanded Medicaid coverage.

The counties with the highest percentage of people at 138 percent of poverty who don't have health insurance are Blaine, Camas, Teton, Clark, and Owhyee.

Idaho's health insurance exchange will begin enrolling people in October, with coverage set to begin at the start of 2014. The expanded options for health insurance could start to move the dial on Idaho's uninsured rates over the next couple of years.