Bonnie J. Hackbarth
(LOUISVILLE, Ky - February 2, 2017) More than 70 percent of nearly 234,000 Kentucky adults who still didn't have health insurance in early 2016 said they were working either part- or full-time, and nearly half had incomes low enough to qualify for Medicaid insurance, according to the latest snapshot from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky's ongoing study of the Affordable Care Act implementation in the Commonwealth. Nearly 45 percent of these uninsured adults had completed high school, and another 37 percent had taken at least some college courses or earned a college degree.
"A significant majority of uninsured Kentuckians were working adults, and most had at least a high school education, yet many were still struggling to make ends meet," said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. "Health system reforms must take these facts into account to ensure that hard-working, low-income Kentuckians have access to important wellness care and preventive health screenings that can improve the quality of their lives while reducing costs for the entire health care system."
The snapshot showed no statistical change in the rate of uninsurance in Kentucky from 2015 to the window of time from February through April 2016. More than a quarter of the remaining uninsured during that window were children, and another 34.5 percent were young adults ages 19 to 34. And nearly half of Kentucky's more than 320,000 uninsured adults and children had incomes low enough to qualify for Medicaid, but were not enrolled in the government health insurance program.
"We simply have to get the younger population covered by insurance, public or private, so they can get the health care they need to reduce their chances of developing chronic diseases later in life," Chandler said.
A copy of seventh quarterly snapshot from the Study of the Impact of the ACA Implementation in Kentucky is available here. Previous snapshots and other special reports from the study are available here.
About the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
Since the Foundation opened its doors in 2001, it has invested more than $26 million in health policy research and advocacy, as well as demonstration project grants across the Commonwealth. Funded by an endowment, the mission of the nonpartisan Foundation is to address the unmet health care needs of Kentuckians by developing and influencing health policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Follow the Foundation on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and visit our website at www.healthy-ky.org.
Bonnie J. Hackbarth