Census data released today shows the percentage of uninsured New Yorkers dropped significantly for the first time in years, to 12.2% in 2011 from 15.1% in 2010. Compared with other states that means in 2011 New York had the 15th lowest percentage of uninsured in the country. (In 2010, New York ranked 31st. Massachusetts is still in the lead with only 3.4% uninsured in 2011.)
Nationally, the rate of uninsured fell from 16.3% to 15.7%, from 50 million to 48.6 million. This change is due largely to increased utilization of Medicaid in New York (up from 21.3% in 2010 to 24.1% in 2011) and nationally (up from 15.8% in 2010 to 16.5% in 2011).
These numbers demonstrate the importance of strengthening our public programs to reach the needs of people, particularly in hard economic times. Especially considering children in poverty have a higher uninsured rate (13.8%) than the rate for all children (9.4%).
As we might have guessed from the 2012 Employer Health Benefits Survey that indicated more young adults are getting on their parent’s plan, the Census data showed the share of uninsured 19- to 25-year-olds declined by 539,000 (from 29.8% in 2010 to 27.7% in 2011).
New York still has over 2.3 million uninsured. While that is a great improvement from the nearly 2.9 million uninsured the previous year, there is much work to be done. But the numbers don’t lie. The ACA is working.