Uninsured rate drops in R.I. in 2014

PROVIDENCE – The U.S. Census Bureau released data from its 2014 American Community Survey showing that the uninsured rate for Rhode Island was 7.4 percent, a drop from 11.3 percent the year before.

Among the four counties last year, the highest uninsured rate was in Providence County at 9 percent and the lowest was in Kent County at 4.8 percent. Newport and Washington counties each had uninsured rates of 5.6 percent.

Bristol County was not included because it did not meet the 65,000 population threshold, the Census Bureau said.

The uninsured rate for Rhode Island was higher than the 5 percent that HealthSource RI reported recently.

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Anya Rader Wallack, HealthSource RI executive director, explained that the Census Bureau conducted its survey at a different time than HSRI. HealthSource conducted its survey between April and June. She said HealthSource RI also already had gone through its second open enrollment period, which helped its results.
“Ours was also a slightly bigger sample size. We feel quite confident in our numbers. They show the same margin of error,” Wallack said.

The downward trend also was the same, she said, adding Rhode Island’s uninsured rate had the second-greatest drop in the country, behind only Kentucky.

The HSRI survey had a margin of error of +/- 1 percent. Approximately 5,000 households and more than 12,000 individual Rhode Islanders were surveyed.

The percentage of children under the age of 18 without health insurance fell to 3.3 percent in 2014 compared with 5.4 percent the year before, according to data from the American Community Survey released by Rhode Island Kids Count. That compares with 6 percent of all children nationally without health insurance in 2014, which also was the first year for which the federal Affordable Care Act was fully implemented.
Rhode Island was seventh in the nation and third in New England for children’s health insurance coverage in 2014, Kids Count said. In 2013, Rhode Island was 16th in the nation and last in New England, it said.

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