The federal health overhaul has helped cut the ranks of uninsured people in Minnesota by about 40 percent, University of Minnesota researchers reported Wednesday in the first major assessment of the law’s effect in the state. The study estimated that the number of uninsured Minnesotans fell by 180,500 from Sept. 30 to May 1 — from about 445,000 people to about 264,500.
People waiting for a scorecard on a key insurance enrollment measure under Minnesota’s health care marketplace will have to wait for results. MNsure interim director Scott Leitz said Friday it will take officials time to say how many previously uninsured people have obtained coverage for the first time. Leitz says some statistics are being kept or gleaned from enrollment forms, but it’s not known how many of the 400,000 previously uninsured Minnesotans have enrolled.
There is only one Elvis, but there are thousands of self-employed Minnesotans like Elvis impersonator Anthony Shore and his wife Trisha. Both are 32 years old and uninsured. “I’m a healthy individual, but you never know what’s going to happen. So yeah, I don’t like it. It makes me feel scared not having insurance,” Trisha said. Starting next week, uninsured and under-insured Minnesotans can buy health care online at MNsure.org. But one of the biggest problems is getting the word out.
Minnesota’s new health insurance program is under fire Tuesday from the state’s African-American leaders. They say MNsure is ignoring groups who have been working for years to sign up the uninsured.
Massachusetts has lowest percentage of uninsured residents with only 4.5 percent; Texas has the highest with 28.8 percent. Generally the highest uninsured rates can be found in the South and West.
Young adults 19-34 years of age represent the group most likely to be uninsured. More than three-quarters of uninsured Americans come from working families.
Senator Al Franken announced Friday that 16 Minnesota community health centers will be eligible to apply for more than $1.6 million in funds to help uninsured patients. According to Sen. Franken’s office, the funds are a portion of the $150 million made available to help community health centers via the 2010 health reform law. Franken says community health centers regularly help uninsured citizens, and the funding will help them to continue their important work.
Even with more children living in poverty because of the rough economy, the number of children without health insurance in the U.S. has dropped by 1 million in the past three years, according to a report released Tuesday by Georgetown University.