(LOUISVILLE, Ky – August 8, 2016) The 300,000 Kentuckians still without health insurance at the end of 2015, following one of the largest drops in the rate of uninsured in the nation, were more likely than their insured counterparts to be young adults, of Hispanic or Latino heritage, and working yet earning low incomes. In addition, the latest report on the impact of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion in Kentucky, released today by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, showed that these remaining uninsured adults were less likely to have a college degree or even some college education.
“We need to understand who the remaining uninsured are to make certain they can get essential health services moving forward, and this report gives us some critical insight,” said Susan Zepeda, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “While traditional and expanded Medicaid programs are providing more than 600,000 working-age Kentucky adults with access to health care services that will help them lead healthier and more productive lives, there remain 300,000 Kentuckians who have been unable to access insurance, and likely cannot afford to pay for even basic health care.”
The report, the fifth quarterly snapshot of the Study of the Impact of the ACA Implementation in Kentucky, found that the remaining uninsured adults in Kentucky as of March 2016 were 397 percent more likely to be of Hispanic or Latino heritage, 100 percent more likely to be between the ages of 19 and 25, and 53 percent more likely to earn incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level (which would make them eligible for Medicaid under the expanded program in Kentucky), than those who have health coverage. The uninsured also were 32 percent less likely to have at least some college education and 18 percent more likely to be working than the insured.
Of Kentucky’s non-elderly adults who had health coverage in the first quarter of 2016, nearly 611,000 were covered by traditional and ACA-expansion Medicaid, combined. At the same time, more than 515,000 Kentucky children were covered by traditional Medicaid and the Kentucky Child Health Insurance Program (KCHIP), the report said.
“While the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansions primarily target adults, children are more likely to be covered when their parents have health insurance,” Zepeda said.
Medicaid covered tens of thousands of screenings and other health services for Kentucky adults ages 19-64 during the first quarter this year, including:
- 6,304 colorectal cancer screenings;
- 5,451 Hepatitis C screenings;
- 9,567 breast cancer screenings;
- 12,837 substance use services;
- 46,668 dental services; and
- 6,660 births.
“More than three-fourths of those who received dental services were able to get coverage because of Medicaid expansion, pointing out the great need for dental coverage,” Zepeda said.
The report also revealed that 75.7 percent of Kentuckians who enrolled in marketplace plans in 2016 through kynect, Kentucky’s state-run health benefits marketplace, received financial assistance. That was an increase from 69.3 percent receiving assistance during 2015, but still lower than the national average of 85 percent (84.7 percent in 2015). The average amount of monthly assistance (in the form of an advance premium tax credit, or APTC) Kentuckians received rose $35 from 2015 to 2016, to $258 ($291 national average).
A copy of the full report is available here.
About the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
Since the Foundation opened its doors in 2001, it has invested over $26 million in health policy research, advocacy and pilot project grants across the Commonwealth. Funded by an endowment, the mission of the Foundation is to address the unmet health care needs of Kentuckians by informing and influencing health policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Follow the Foundation on Twitter and on Facebook, or visit our website at www.healthy-ky.org.
Bonnie J. Hackbarth