Rate Of Uninsured Americans Rises, Georgia Now Ranks 3rd
The rate of uninsured Georgians has risen to 13.7% in 2018, ranking Georgia the third-highest uninsured state following Texas and Oklahoma, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday.
Nationally, the amount of uninsured people also increased. In 2017, 7.9% of people were uninsured. The rate rose to 8.5% in 2018.
The Census Bureau suggests the declining trends may be linked to a decrease in public health insurance. Medicaid coverage rates dropped from 18.5% in 2017 to 17.9% in 2018. However, Medicare coverage rates increased due to more people aged 65 and older.
Insurance rates among children aged 18 and under also increased to 5.5%. This uptick could be tied to some children being from lower-income families who are eligible for special insurance plans like the Children's Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) or by children receiving insurance through a parent or guardian's insurance plan.
The Census Bureau stated that changes in uninsured rates between 2017 and 2018 differed by poverty status and state Medicaid expansion status.
The Affordable Care Act provided the option for states to expand Medicaid eligibility to those with an income-to-poverty ratio that fell under a particular threshold. The Census Bureau suggests a correlation between poverty status and health insurance coverage in 2018, and the change in coverage between 2017 and 2018 with the state of residence and whether or not that state expanded Medicaid eligibility. Prior to January 1, 2018, Georgia did not expand Medicaid eligibility.