Nearly half of all Americans with health insurance receive coverage through their employer. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, however, millions of Americans lost their jobs, and nearly 30% of U.S. residents lost their health insurance coverage. While many have returned to employment, health insurance coverage levels are likely still far from the pre-pandemic normal.
It remains to be seen how much of an impact the pandemic has truly had on health coverage in the United States, but there are a number of American counties where even a substantial loss of insurance coverage would not have driven coverage levels below the national figure.
According to the five-year ending in 2019, the most recent year for which data is available through the U.S. Census, on average, as many as 10.3% of Americans under 65 did not have health insurance coverage. In a number of American counties, the uninsured rate was far below this, in many cases less than 5%.
To determine the counties with the best health insurance coverage in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed five-year estimates of the percentage of the noninstitutionalized civilian population under 65 without health insurance from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. We looked at the population under 65 because Americans 65 and older are automatically entitled to Medicare benefits.
In all states but two, the county with the best health insurance coverage in each state has a lower share of uninsured residents than the national 10.3% share. Fairbanks county, Alaska, and Cleveland County, Oklahoma have the lowest uninsured rate among their state’s qualifying counties, both at 10.8%.
Among the other counties to make this list, generally it is the case that in states with higher insurance coverage of the under 65 population, there is at least one county where less than 5% of the under 65 population lack health insurance. Massachusetts has the lowest uninsured rate in the country, at just 3.2% of the population under 65. Norfolk County, Massachusetts, has the lowest uninsured rate of any county to qualify for this ranking, at 2.1%.