Editor's note: This article's headline originally mentioned a 9 percent decrease, which should have read as a 9 percentage point decline - equivalent to a 47 percent decrease. WCPO regrets this error.
CINCINNATI -- The rate of adults age 18 to 64 without health insurance in Greater Cincinnati dropped from 19 percent to 10 percent between 2013 and 2017, according to the 2017 Community Health Status Survey.
That amounts to a 47 percent decrease, down significantly from 19 percent in 2013 and 21 percent in 2010, but similar to the 11 percent reported in 2002.
This is the first time the health survey has collected insurance data since the 2014 implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Since then, the national uninsured rate has declined steeply. After rising to 20 percent in 2013, the percentage of uninsured adults nationwide dropped to 12 percent in 2016.
“Many factors affect an individual's health status,” says Dr. O'dell M. Owens, president and CEO of Interact for Health, which conducts the health survey. “However, having health insurance is a critical factor in whether someone seeks the right health care at the right time. Those without health insurance are more likely to delay getting care when they need it.”
The health survey found that the biggest drop was among lower-income adults living under 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. In 2013, 37 percent of adults in this group were uninsured. By 2017, only 8 percent were uninsured. This decline is likely because of the expansion of Medicaid in Ohio and Kentucky, which targeted uninsured adults earning less than 138 percent Federal Poverty Guideline.
Similarly, the percentage of uninsured adults earning between 100 and 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines dropped from 28 percent in 2013 to 19 percent in 2016. Despite this decline, adults in this group were still more likely to be uninsured than adults in other income groups.
Adults with less education more likely to be uninsured
Insurance status varied by education. Nearly three in 10 adults with less than a high school education -- 26 percent -- were uninsured. This compares with one in 10 high school graduates or those with some college, and fewer than one in 10 college graduates.
Percentage of adults with unstable insurance remains steady
The stability of health insurance coverage is also a factor in access to health care. A measure of stability is whether a person has been covered continuously for the past 12 months. About 5 percent of currently insured adults age 18-64 in our region reported having been without insurance at some point in the last 12 months. This remains stable from 2013.
This year's health survey was conducted by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati for Interact for Health. A total of 4,261 randomly selected adults residing in eight Ohio counties, nine Kentucky counties and five Indiana counties were interviewed by telephone between Aug. 10, 2016, and March 8, 2017. This included 1,906 landline interviews and 2,355 cell phone interviews.
More information about the insurance held by adults in our region, the stability of insurance and other topics is available at the Interact for Health website here.