Monday, March 23, 2015

Who had health insurance coverage pre-2014?

by Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist

Recent tax filers undoubtedly noticed something new on their 2014 federal tax form. For the first time, the “shared responsibility” provision of the Affordable Care Act required individuals to have qualifying health coverage, qualify for a coverage exemption, or make a shared responsibility payment when filing tax returns. The U.S. Census Bureau’s recently released health insurance (2008-2013) estimates provide a baseline of health insurance coverage before the Affordable Care Act individual shared responsibility requirements. In future years, the effects of the Affordable Care Act will be apparent in this data series.

This data is based on modeled American Community Survey estimates and administrative data. It allows analysis of differences in coverage by demographics at the county level. In addition to statewide data, the following visualization provides an interactive method to view coverage at the county level.

Keep in mind that government-provided healthcare coverage (such as Medicaid) is included. What do these figures tell us about health insurance coverage for Utahns under the age of 65 prior to 2014?

• Roughly 15 percent of Utah’s population under age 65 did not have health insurance between 2008 and 2013.

• Utah women were slightly less likely (84 percent) than Utah men (86 percent) to maintain healthcare coverage.

• Young people under the age of 19 were most likely to be covered by health insurance. More than 90 percent had coverage.

• Of the reported racial/ethnic groups, Hispanics showed the highest rates of healthcare coverage.

• In Utah, the lower incomes translated into lower shares of insured individuals.

• In general, Utah counties in the southern half of the state showed the highest shares of uninsured.

• Piute County’s estimate indicates that one-fourth of its population did not maintain healthcare coverage, the highest uninsured rate in Utah.

• Morgan County showed the highest percentage of insured individuals (90 percent).

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