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Another take on RI’s uninsured

September 13, 2011

Remember my earlier post about the Census Bureau’s latest data on health insurance coverage by state? I mentioned that the sample size is so low the numbers aren’t always accurate, especially for Little Rhody.

That’s why Rhode Island’s Poverty Institute takes a two year average of the Census  data when it analyzes the state’s rate of uninsured residents. The Poverty Institute also only looks at data about Rhode Islanders under the age of 65, because most seniors have Medicare/Medicaid. Including them in the data skews the percentage towards the insured.

Those considerations change the data by a few percentage points. Here’s what the non-profit came up with-

Rhode Island Health Insurance Numbers*

Rhode Islanders Under 65

2007-2008

2009-2010

Change from 07-08 to 09-10

Uninsured

111,768 (12.2%)

119,074 (13.3%)

+8,306 (+1,1%)**

Employer Sponsored Insurance

613,784 (67.5%)

571,171 (63.8%)

– 42,613 (-3.6%)

Medicaid

144,718 (15.9%)

171,145 (19.1%)

+26,423 (+3.2%)

** Change was not statistically significant

Notice that the percentage of employer sponsored insurance dropped, but the rate of Rhode Islanders on Medicaid went up. Linda Katz of the Poverty Institute says that proves Rhode Island’s safety net is in large part doing its job- making up for loses in the private sector. She says that’s  evidence for why we need programs like RIte Care, and why it was a good idea to expand Medicaid to low income Americans without children in the Affordable Care Act

Using the Poverty Institute’s analysis, here’s how Rhode Island compared to other New England states and the national average-

New England 2009-2010 Uninsured

Rhode Islanders Under 65

 

Number

Percent uninsured

Rank (1=lowest)

Massachusetts

320,026

5.7%

1

Vermont

5,776

10.7%

5

Maine

124,682

11.5%

6

New Hampshire

130,771

11.5%

7

Connecticut

377,929

12.5%

8

Rhode Island

119,074

13.3%

11

United States

48.7 M

18.3%

What do you think? Do the numbers analyzed this way have more power?

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