No Medicaid expansion, insurance exchanges for high-uninsured states

Feb. 7, 2014 at 2:59 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Of the five states with the highest percentage of adults lacking health insurance, only Arkansas has set up an insurance exchange, a poll indicated Friday.

Arkansas ranks second on the list of states with the highest uninsured rates in 2013 -- 22.7 percent of residents go without health insurance. Texas is second at 27 percent, followed by Mississippi, Florida and Louisiana.

Arkansas is the only one of the five that has expanded Medicaid and organized a health insurance exchange for 2014, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index reported. The states with the lowest 2013 uninsured rates -- in order, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Vermont, Minnesota and Iowa, have all expanded Medicaid and initiated an insurance exchange.

The uninsured rate in Massachusetts is 4.9 percent.

The Index noted most states led by Republican governors have decided against state action, preferring to lower uninsured rates by other means.

The results were based on telephone surveys of 178,068 adults from Dec. 29, 2013, to Jan. 2, 2014. The margin of sampling error is 1 to 2 percentage points, but as much as 4 percentage points for states with the smallest populations.

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