The U.S. Census Bureau recently released the latest estimates on health insurance coverage. The American Community Survey (ACS) reported that 348,097 Kansans - or 12.3 percent of the population - did not have insurance coverage in 2013. This was essentially unchanged from 2012 (12.6 percent). The uninsured rate in Kansas of 12.3 percent is significantly lower than the national uninsured rate of 14.5 percent.
These estimates are based on data collected during 2013, before most of the insurance coverage changes under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) took effect. Future data releases may provide a better gauge of the full impact of the new law on Kansans.
• An estimated 44,130 Kansas children (6.1 percent) did not have insurance in 2013, showing no significant change in the uninsured rate of Kansas children from 2012.
• As in previous years, Hispanics/Latinos and African Americans in Kansas were more likely to be uninsured compared to Whites or Asians. More than one quarter of Hispanics/Latinos (27.8 percent) and almost one in five African Americans (18.0 percent) in Kansas were uninsured in 2013. The uninsured rate in Kansas was 11.3 percent for Whites and 15.1 percent for Asians.
Two pieces of information particularly relevant to the ongoing debate about the ACA are insurance coverage among young adults, and how many Kansans may gain coverage if the state expands its Medicaid program as allowed by the ACA.
Insurance coverage among young adults (age 19-25) in Kansas has increased significantly since the ACA change allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until age 26. In 2009, before the provision went into effect, 26.8 percent of young adults were uninsured, compared to 21.4 percent in 2013.
To inform states’ decisions about Medicaid expansion, the U.S. Census Bureau provided estimates of how many of the uninsured in each state would potentially be covered by an expansion. The ACS estimates that 151,170 (43.9 percent) uninsured Kansans could be eligible for Medicaid coverage if the state expands its program.
KHI’s insurance coverage expert, Scott Brunner, M.A., noted, “The ACA’s effect on health insurance coverage in our state is a highly anticipated policy question for the coming year. These data establish the baseline for measuring the law’s impact. KHI is prepared to help you understand the relevant information about this complex issue and what it means for Kansans.”
The ACS is used by the Kansas Health Institute (KHI) to create the Annual Insurance Update and to track changes in health insurance coverage in the state over time. Look for additional information from KHI in the coming weeks that will provide detailed information about the different types of coverage and comparisons to historical trend.