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Study reveals Minnesota has a low 3.8% uninsured rate

Byeditor

Apr 3, 2024

The percentage of Minnesotans without health insurance fell to an all-time low of 3.8% last year, as reported by the Minnesota Department of Health. This marks a decrease from the previous uninsured rate of 4% in 2021. While the state views this reduction as a positive development, it is not considered statistically significant. However, it does indicate that approximately 11,000 fewer Minnesotans were without insurance coverage in the reported year.

Higher rates of health insurance coverage are generally seen as beneficial for individuals in terms of their ability to access and afford healthcare. Despite the positive trend in the uninsured rate, findings from the Minnesota Health Access Survey, which is conducted biennially by the Health Department, also revealed an increase in the number of state residents who experienced barriers to care due to costs. There were also concerns expressed regarding the financial protections offered by health insurance.

Dr. Brooke Cunningham, the state Health Commissioner, expressed optimism about the overall reduction in the uninsurance rate but highlighted the dynamic nature of these rates. She noted that insurance and healthcare costs continue to be significant barriers for many Minnesotans. In 2021, Minnesota, like other states, expanded access to health insurance through the state-federal Medicaid program, which had paused eligibility checks during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some residents have been losing Medicaid coverage as eligibility checks resumed in the summer of that year.

The Health Department reported that the majority of uninsured Minnesotans experience long-term uninsurance, meaning they go without coverage for a year or more. In the most recent survey, this group accounted for a smaller number and share of the uninsured population. Additionally, they were less likely to have previously been covered by job-based health insurance. Stefan Gildemeister, director of the state’s Health Economics Program, noted that the increase in prior public program coverage among those who were uninsured for shorter periods could indicate challenges in transitioning to other forms of coverage after losing eligibility.

By editor

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