The Washington Post

Eight things the new Census data tells us about state and local health coverage rates

(Credit: Robyn Beck, AFP/Getty.)

States have been all over the place on health coverage: private rates, public rates and uninsured rates went in all directions, according to new Census data on state-by-state health insurance coverage.

The main takeaway is this: while the private coverage rate dropped nationally from 2010 to 2012, most states saw no significant change. On the other hand, public rates rose, though at a slower pace than from 2008 to 2010. Here are some of the more interesting facts from the report:

The interaction between private and public insurance coverage:

  • In 17 states, public coverage rates rose while private rates stayed the same, leading the uninsured rate to drop in most.
  • Private rates fell in 15 states, resulting in an increase in public coverage in 14 of them.


  • Alaska was the only state where private rates fell, but public rates didn’t rise.
  • Just one of the 25 largest metropolitan areas—Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington–saw an increase in the rate of private coverage.

Uninsured rates that rose

  • The uninsured rate rose by a percentage point in Arizona, the only state that saw a decline in the public insurance coverage rate.
  • The uninsured rate rose in Missouri, where private rates dropped more than public rates rose.

Uninsured rates that fell

  • The uninsured rate fell in eight states—California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Oregon—thanks to the rise in public coverage.
  • The uninsured rate fell in three metropolitan areas—Boston- Cambridge-Quincy; New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island; and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario—thanks to a rise in public coverage.
Niraj Chokshi reports for GovBeat, The Post's state and local policy blog.



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