Health Care In The States

Washington Ranks 2nd In Nation In Uninsured Growth

By Carol M. Ostrom, Seattle Times

September 3rd, 2013, 5:47 AM

This story was produced in partnership with

With about 16 percent of its residents uninsured, Washington state falls solidly in middie of the pack, with Texas having the highest percentage of residents without health insurance: more than 25 percent. Massachusetts, where a state health-insurance mandate has been in place for years, has the smallest percentage of uninsured residents at just under 5 percent.

But in one way, and not a good one, Washington nearly led the nation, a recent report revealed. From 2008 to 2011, the state’s increase in the number of residents without insurance was second-highest.

The latest numbers come from the U.S. Census Bureau’s recently released 2011 Small Area Health Insurance Estimates for counties and states.

Washington ranked ranked high in two other measures: the percentage of under-age-65 Hispanics without insurance, and the percentage of people under age 65 living at or below the poverty level without insurance.

Only Tennessee had a higher rate of growth in uninsured residents from 2008 to 2011.  Some states stayed virtually the same, and some had decreases.

The Census Bureau’s report also looked at counties. In Washington, the county where the percentage of uninsured residents grew the most from 2008 to 2011 was San Juan with an increase of 4.3 percent. It was followed by Mason and Whatcom counties. King County had an increase of 2.5 percent.

4 Responses to “Washington Ranks 2nd In Nation In Uninsured Growth”

  1. marie says:

    “With about 16 percent of its residents uninsured, Washington state falls solidly in middie of the pack, with Texas having the highest percentage of residents without health insurance: more than 25 percent. Massachusetts, where a state health-insurance mandate has been in place for years, has the smallest percentage of uninsured residents at just under 5 percent.”

    Texas wins again! Texas beats every other state as the highest ranked in uninsured! Texas is the best! I’m proud to be a Texan!

  2. I’m a Wash state resident who buys individual insurance, and premiums for most plans have risen 9-17% every year for the last 4 years (I compare plans every year). Since 2008, my family’s premiums for a high-deductible, HSA-plan have gone up 45%. Little wonder that more people have dropped coverage. Because of problems with the individual market in the 90s, our state’s insurance commissioner has limited power to control rate increases. I’m not sure how that will change under Obamacare, but I do know that my family’s premiums will go up approx. 62% in 2014, for a bronze-level HSA plan, which is most similar to what we have now. And we don’t qualify for a subsidy.

  3. marie says:

    You don’t qualify for a subsidy? That means one thing. Unlike the 50 million Americans that are uninsured and the estimated 25 million more that are underinsured, your family’s income is at a high enough level that you can easily afford your premiums. Did you use the subsidy calculator (http://kff.org/interactive/subsidy-calculator/) to find what you’ll pay? The idea with Obamacare is to get a portion of the uninsured into the risk pool so that “your” premiums are reduced. It’s pretty simple! It’s an insurance fundamental! It’s how insurance works! Any insurance! All insurance works on the principle of risk pools. The more people in the risk pool, the less each person in the risk pool pays. Get it? It’s a fundamental that seems to completely escape Republicans. Yet, it’s a principle that was first introduced by the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation and was then adopted by Mitt Romney for Massachusetts. They called it Romneycare! Romneycare became the inspiration for Obamacare. Obamacare is an exact copy of Romneycare! A Republican idea! Get it?

  4. Marie: Yes, I get it perfectly. I’ve worked with insurance companies for 30 years and know exactly how insurance works. My family doesn’t qualify for a subsidy because our annual income is just over 400% of federal poverty level, the upper limit for a subsidy. That said, the lowest premiums available to us on the Wash. state exchange will be over $10,000 a year, or 14% of our income. I don’t consider that “easily” affordable.

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