Uninsured rates drop in states expanding Medicaid, running own exchange


Insurers operating in Arkansas and Kentucky are probably pretty happy, given that those states recorded the largest reduction in uninsured residents since the health insurance exchange enrollment season, according to a new Gallup poll.

Nationwide, the number of uninsured Americans decreased by 18 percent in September 2013 to 13.4 percent in June 2014. But the states that implemented key Affordable Care Act provisions--namely, expanding Medicaid and either operating their own health insurance exchange or collaborating with feds in a joint marketplace--saw their uninsured rates drop almost twice as much.

"All 10 states that report the largest declines in uninsured rates expanded Medicaid and established a state-based marketplace exchange or state-federal partnership," Gallup said in its poll results.

The uninsured rate in Arkansas dropped more than 10 points from 22.5 percent in 2013 to 12.4 percent this year, and Kentucky's uninsured rate fell from 20.4 percent to 11.9 percent. Rounding out the 10 states with the largest drops in their uninsured population are Delaware, Washington, Colorado, West Virginia, Oregon, California, New Mexico and Connecticut.

On the other hand, states that chose to not expand Medicaid or establish their own exchanges did not experience the same results as those who followed ACA provisions closely. "Those states that have not embraced those two major mechanisms have had about half of the decline in uninsured," Gallup's Dan Witters told Kaiser Health News

Georgia, Indiana and Mississippi, for example, only saw their uninsured rates decrease by less than 2 percentage points.

To learn more:
- here's the Gallup poll
- read the Kaiser Health News article

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