Healthcare Economy

10 States With The Worst Health Coverage

10. Arizona
> Pct. without health insurance (2012): 17.6%
> Unemployment rate (2012): 8.3% (16th highest)
> Poverty rate: 18.7% (8th highest)
> Pct. aged 65 and over: 14.8% (13th highest)

An estimated 17.6% of Arizona residents lacked health insurance in 2012, well above the national rate of 14.8%. Children living in the state were also less likely than minors nationwide to be insured. An estimated 13.2% of the population under 18 lacked health coverage in 2012, well above the 7.2% of minors across the U.S. Only in a few states were Americans less likely to receive health coverage from their work than in Arizona. State Governor Jan Brewer has supported the expansion of Medicaid in Arizona under the Affordable Care Act, which the state’s legislature approved in June. This could provide coverage to hundreds of thousands of uninsured residents.

Also read: States where people go hungry

9. California
> Pct. without health insurance (2012): 17.9%
> Unemployment rate (2012): 10.5% (2nd highest)
> Poverty rate: 17.0% (18th highest)
> Pct. aged 65 and over: 12.1% (6th lowest)

California had among the highest rates of uninsured residents as of 2012. As such, it is among the states standing to benefit the most from the Affordable Care Act, which will begin open enrollment in less than a week. Benefiting the most may mean paying the most, however. Californians will end up paying some of the highest rates in the country under the new legislation, according to recent news reports. Last year, the portion of Californians on Medicaid was above the national average rate. However, About half the population received health insurance from an employer. This could be explained by California’s high unemployment rate, which was second-worst in the country.

8. Montana
> Pct. without health insurance (2012): 18.0%
> Unemployment rate (2012): 6.0% (14th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 15.5% (25th highest)
> Pct. aged 65 and over: 15.8% (5th highest)

The proportion of Montana residents without health insurance coverage has remained effectively unchanged for the past three years. Just 48% of the state’s population in 2012 had employer-based coverage, one of the lowest rates in the country. Nationally, the rate was close to 55% last year. Montana has among the lowest proportion of jobs in manufacturing in the country, which are more likely to provide health benefits. When the Affordable Care Act’s penalty for large businesses that do not provide insurance takes effect in 2015, more Montana businesses will be affected. In the U.S., roughly 4% of companies have more than 50 employees. In Montana, it is an estimated that as many as 37% do.

7. New Mexico
> Pct. without health insurance (2012): 18.4% (tied-5th highest)
> Unemployment rate (2012): 6.9% (19th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 20.8% (2nd highest)
> Pct. aged 65 and over: 14.1% (tied-24th lowest)

New Mexico had the nation’s second highest poverty rate in 2012, at 21.5%. Across the country, poorer households are less likely to have insurance coverage, and this was especially the case in New Mexico. As many as 26.6% of the state’s households earning less than $25,000 annually were uninsured in 2012. But while the state’s Medicaid expansion will extend coverage to many more poor New Mexicans, private insurance coverage remains relatively sparse. As of last year, 22.4% of employed workers lacked health coverage, among the worst figures in the nation. Overall less than 55% of New Mexico residents had private health insurance coverage of any kind, the lowest rate of any state in the U.S.

6. Oklahoma
> Pct. without health insurance (2012): 18.4% (tied-5th highest)
> Unemployment rate (2012): 5.2% (5th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 17.2% (15th highest)
> Pct. aged 65 and over: 14.1% (tied – 24th lowest)

The portion of Oklahoma’s population without health insurance did not change considerably between 2011 and 2012. The state’s unemployment rate was relatively low last year, but the proportion of unemployed residents without health insurance was well-above the national rate. Less than half the population received health coverage through an employer, compared to close to 55% of the U.S. population. Under the Affordable Care Act scheduled to come into effect next month, Oklahomans will be better off than most state-residents because medical care is considerably cheaper in Oklahoma than it is elsewhere.

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