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Mass Leads Country With Lowest Uninsured Rate

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Only 4.1 percent of Massachusetts residents do not have health insurance, the lowest rate in the nation, a new Gallup report said.

Massachusetts has lead the country since 2008 when it comes to widespread subscription to health insurance.

This year's Gallup findings put the Commonwealth well below the national average, where 17.2 percent of Americans lacked health insurance.

Fellow New Englanders in Vermont were not far behind Massachusetts, with an uninsured rate of just 6.7 percent of residents in the Green Mountain State.

Connecticut came in fourth in terms of uninsured residents at just under 10 percent.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, more than one in four Texas residents (25.5 percent) lack health insurance.

Nevada was home to the second most uninsured residents at an even 25 percent.

The findings, based on a survey of 177,000 American adults between January and June of this year, were relatively unchanged from results collected in 2011.

While the national percentage of uninsured Americans has remained stable at just over 17 percent, observers expect that number to decrease throughout 2013 and 2014 as states move to comply with new provisions of the Affordable Care Act as they roll out over the next two years.

Massachusetts Leading in Health Care Reform

The Massachusetts health care insurance reform of 2006, also known as "Romneycare," has helped drive down the state's uninsured rate and keep it low by offering new healthcare insurance options for low-income families and instituting a tax penalty for residents who fail to sign up for coverage.

Worcester's own Fallon Community Health Plan (FCHP), which offers health insurance products and services ranging from commercial to all-inclusive elder care, has done its fair share, covering 208,366 individuals throughout the state.

"We're proud of the role we have continued to play in working in partnership with stakeholders to ensure all Massachusetts residents have access to high-quality, affordable care and coverage," said Christine Cassidy, vice president for corporate communications at FCHP.

Not All Rosy for Health Insurers and Patients

Meanwhile, earnings for Massachusetts health insurers have plummeted, dropping by 50 percent or more at the state's top four providers, even as subscriber numbers have continued to rise across the board.

While a greater percentage of Mass residents are covered by health insurance than in any other state, just having the coverage itself is no guarantee of prompt care.

A recent informal survey performed by GoLocal found that new patients in Worcester face a wait of two to six weeks for a routine physical appointment with a primary care doctor, if they can schedule an appointment at all.


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