Thirteen heavily urban counties are home to 20 percent of the country’s uninsured, according to the study, conducted by the State Health Access Data Assistance Center at the University of Minnesota.
More than 2 million people without insurance — 5 percent of the national total — live in Los Angeles County, the biggest pool of potential sign-ups, while more than a million uninsured live in Harris County, Tex., home of Houston. Nearly 30 percent of all Harris County residents are without insurance. Hundreds of thousands without insurance live in Cook County, Ill., Miami-Dade County, Fla., and Dallas County, Tex., the third, fourth and fifth-largest pools of uninsured.
Federal officials are focusing on 25 metro areas, the AP said, including Dallas, Houston, Miami, Atlanta, northern New Jersey, Philadelphia, Detroit, Cleveland and Indianapolis. The feds are less concerned with cities like Los Angeles and New York, where states are running their own health-care exchanges.
The University of Minnesota Center’s data shows the lowest number of uninsured Americans live in the Midwest and the Northeast, where many states have expanded Medicaid to cover additional low-income residents under the Affordable Care Act. But even before those expansions, the American Community Survey showed low rates of those without insurance in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont.
About 14.9 percent of Americans lack health insurance, according to the center’s estimates. The percentage of Americans covered by public health insurance plans jumped in 28 states between 2011 and 2012.