Monday, October 6, 2014

41,000 More Utahns Had Health Insurance in 2013

(Salt Lake City, UT) – New data from the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) show that 335,700 Utahns, or 11.6 percent of the total population, did not have health insurance during 2013. The figure represents a decrease in the uninsured by 40,900 people compared to 2012.

The estimates come from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a state-based cell and landline telephone survey that measures key public health indicators, including health care coverage.

The data show that adults between the ages of 19 and 64 with incomes less than 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), the population targeted by Gov. Gary Herbert’s Healthy Utah Plan, continue to be uninsured at a much higher rate than the rest of the Utah population. Of adults in the Healthy Utah population, 33.5 percent were uninsured in 2013.

Estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) also show there were fewer people in the Healthy Utah target population during 2013 compared to 2012 (309,600 compared to 323,100).

“It’s encouraging that we’ve seen the number of uninsured Utahns decline in the past year,” said UDOH Executive Director David Patton. “By implementing the governor’s Healthy Utah Plan we can make an even bigger difference, and begin to provide health care coverage for more of those who really need it.”

Healthy Utah is Gov. Herbert’s alternative to Medicaid expansion and would provide health care coverage through the private market to approximately 92,000 Utahns by the end of 2015. The plan still needs approval from the federal government and the Utah State Legislature.

Other findings from the new data include:

•   The drop in the uninsured rate may be due to Utah’s improving economy and declining unemployment rate. The number of adults ages 19-64 who were employed full time in 2013 rose by 24,300 compared to 2012, while the number of uninsured adults in this population fell by 18,400.

•   The percentage of uninsured adults ages 27-34 fell dramatically, from 26.1 percent of this population in 2012 to 19.5 percent in 2013.

•   Changes from the Affordable Care Act that allow married children to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until they’re 26 years old appear to be having a positive impact. In 2010, nearly 29 percent (110,700 people) of this population was uninsured; in 2013 that fell to 18.4 percent (68,500 people).

•   There was a slight decrease in the number of children ages 0-18 living under 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. In 2012 there were 393,900 children in this population. According to ACS estimates, the number fell to 367,800 in 2013. However, the percentage of those children without insurance increased from 13.1% (31,400) in 2012 to 14.5% (39,700) in 2013.

The source of the data, the BRFSS, is a household health survey overseen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and conducted by individual state health departments.  Poverty estimates are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.  Additional data on the estimated number of uninsured Utahns can be found by clicking here.

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Media Contact:
Tom Hudachko
Public Information Officer