Poll: Kentucky uninsured rate remains low

Published 7:46 pm Friday, February 1, 2019


News release

LOUISVILLE — About one in 10 Kentucky adults under age 65 lacks health insurance and about two in 10 have unstable insurance, according to a Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) released today. Both rates dropped significantly after implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid in Kentucky in 2014, and have held relatively steady since 2015.

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The KHIP report did indicate a drop in the percentage of Kentucky adults under 65 who are currently uninsured, from 25 percent in 2013 to 11 percent in 2018. Nationally, 13 percent of adults were uninsured in the first half of 2018.

KHIP is an annual telephone poll of Kentucky adults funded jointly by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Interact for Health. KHIP has been asking Kentucky adults about their health insurance status annually since 2008. The data on the report released today apply only to adults ages 18-64, because nearly all adults 65 and older are insured.

Infographic courtesy of Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky

“The numbers clearly show that the ACA and Medicaid expansion have increased the availability of health care to Kentuckians, especially to our most vulnerable citizens,” said Allen Montgomery, vice chair of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky Board of Directors. “The Foundation continues to advocate for public policy that ensures access to health care, which is essential to improving health in the Commonwealth.”

The poll also asked insured Kentucky adults 18-64 whether they were concerned that they would lose health insurance in the next year; 16 percent answered yes, down from 24 percent in 2017. Those with low incomes were much more likely to be concerned, however; 32 percent of those earning less than 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) expressed concern. Conversely, 9 percent of those earning at least double the FPG said they were concerned about losing insurance.

Half get insurance through employer

Forty-eight percent of Kentucky adults reported getting their health insurance through an employer, up from 39 percent in 2017, while 27 percent said they received some kind of public insurance (Medicare, Medicaid, veteran benefits or some combination of the three). The proportion of Kentucky adults 18-64 with public insurance is down from 35 percent in 2017. Another 14 percent said they either purchased their own plan, were covered by a parent’s plan or another source, or weren’t sure how they were covered.

The full KHIP report is available at http://bit.ly/2DAzQiB.

Funded by an endowment, the mission of the nonpartisan Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is to address the unmet health needs of Kentuckians by developing and influencing policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity.