Maine sees significant drop in percentage of residents lacking medical insurance, census finds

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The proportion of Maine residents without medical insurance dropped from 8 percent to five.7 percent over three years, in response to a recent report from the U.S. Census.

The state now has the 14th-lowest uninsured rate within the nation, even though it stays the best in Latest England, in response to the census.

The drop is primarily the results of Medicaid eligibility expansion in 2019, and represents the most important decline among the many states from 2019-21, the newest 12 months statistics were available. About 99,000 Maine people now have Medicaid insurance. Medicaid, also known here as MaineCare, is insurance for low-income people funded with a mix of federal and state dollars.

Massachusetts, which enacted insurance coverage reforms within the 2000s that preceded the Inexpensive Care Act, has the bottom uninsured rate within the nation at 2.5 percent. Nationally, the uninsured rate declined from 9.2 percent in 2019 to eight.6 percent in 2021.

Maine’s uninsured rate is now about half what it was a decade ago. The proportion of Maine residents without insurance was 11.2 percent in 2013, the 12 months before the Inexpensive Care Act was implemented, in response to the census.

Latest England states have among the many nation’s lowest uninsured rates, with Vermont recording the second-lowest at 3.7 percent, and Rhode Island, Connecticut and Latest Hampshire are all among the many 10 lowest. There are still 14 states which have refused to expand Medicaid under the Inexpensive Care Act, including Texas and most states within the Southeast. Texas has the best uninsured rate within the country with 18 percent lacking coverage.

Medicaid expansion was mandatory under the Inexpensive Care Act, however the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that states must determine whether to take part in the expansion. Former Maine Gov. Paul LePage – who’s now running for a 3rd non-consecutive term in November against incumbent Gov. Janet Mills – opposed broadening eligibility and vetoed legislative efforts to expand Medicaid. LePage also refused to expand Medicaid during his last 12 months in office in 2018 after voters overwhelmingly approved the expansion in a 2017 referendum.

Mills implemented the expansion when she took office in 2019. Maine went from having the nation’s Twenty sixth-lowest uninsured rate in 2019 (8 percent) to 14th in 2021 (5.7 percent).

Nearly 100,000 Maine residents have Medicaid insurance who weren’t eligible prior to 2019, although not all of them were previously uninsured. Some switched from Inexpensive Care Act coverage to Medicaid once the expansion went into effect. ACA enrollment in Maine peaked in 2016 at about 84,000 people, and is now about 66,000, in response to the Kaiser Family Foundation and state statistics.

“Having medical insurance saves lives. That’s why since my first day in office, I actually have fought to make health care more accessible and cheaper for all Maine people. This report shows we’re succeeding,” Mills said in a written statement.

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