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Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Six States Join Massachusetts in the Under 5% Uninsured Club

Six States Join Massachusetts in the Under 5% Uninsured Club

August 12, 2015

The Gallup Poll does big national surveys asking people if they have health insurance. It's not as rigorous as our state surveys, but it's more frequent and provides a good snapshot that allows one to compare states.

Their latest results for the first half of 2015 were released this week. Nationwide, the uninsured rate fell from 17.3 percent in 2013 to 11.7 percent through the first half of this year. Here's the amazing bottom line:

Through the first half of 2015, there are now seven states with uninsured rates that are at or below 5%: Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Minnesota, Iowa, Connecticut and Hawaii. Previously -- from 2008 through 2014 -- Massachusetts had been the only state to be at or below this rate.

It's all about the ACA. The poll notes that, collectively, the uninsured rate in states that chose to expand Medicaid and set up their own state exchanges or partnerships in the health insurance marketplace declined significantly more since 2013 than the rate in states that did not take these steps.

Poll shows a bigger decline in uninsurance rates among states that implemented the ACA

According to their numbers, the uninsured rate in Massachusetts is 3.0%, putting us second best, behind Rhode Island at 2.7%. Now in reality, the margin of error for the survey ±1 or 2 percentage points for us, and ±3 or 4 points for small states like Rhode Island. So, Massachusetts continues to set the pace for other states to lower their uninsured rates through expanding coverage.  There are no losers in the movement towards universal coverage. 

        - Michelle Savuto