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Share of Minnesotans without health insurance hits record low, state survey shows

The share of Minnesotans without health insurance fell to an all-time low in 2023, according to data released this week by the Minnesota Department of Health.

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Last year 3.8% of Minnesotans said they didn’t have any form of health insurance, down from 4.0% in 2021 and a high of 9.1% in 2009. The data comes from the Minnesota Health Access Survey, which interviewed 15,220 respondents between September and December 2023.

Minnesota has one of the nation’s lowest uninsurance rates, according to separate data from the U.S. Census.

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“We are encouraged by Minnesota’s overall uninsurance rate,” Minnesota Commissioner of Health Brooke Cunningham said in a statement. “However, we must keep in mind these rates are dynamic. The state must remain committed to ensuring that Minnesotans eligible for public coverage have it available to them and that those who are no longer eligible for public coverage have affordable private options.”

The survey also found that the share of Minnesotans forgoing health care due to cost concerns rose from 2021 to 2023, likely reflecting the rollback of COVID-era stimulus money and coverage protections. About one quarter of respondents said they skipped needed care due to costs in 2023, up nearly 5 percentage points from 2021 but similar to the level seen in 2019.

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Among those living at 200% or less of the federal poverty level, the rate was 33%, while 40% of indigenous Minnesotans said they skipped care due to cost. Among the uninsured the rate was 53%.

One quarter of Minnesotans said they weren’t satisfied that their insurance protected them from high medical bills, and about one-in-five with private insurance said they weren’t confident in their ability to pay their deductible.

Gov. Tim Walz ran in 2018 on supporting a public health care option available to all Minnesotans. But Walz’ Democratic Farmer-Labor party hasn’t been able to make it happen despite gaining narrow control of both legislative chambers in 2023. Last month the governor’s office told the Reformer it wouldn’t happen in 2024, saying it was too expensive to pass in a non-budget year.

Still, Minnesotans’ rate of uninsured is miniscule compared to many states, especially those that have refused the Medicaid expansion that was part of the Affordable Care Act. In many Republican-controlled states, the rate is 10% or more. Texas has the nation’s highest uninsured rate, standing at 16.6% in 2022.

In the United States, health insurance coverage is directly linked to mortality and life expectancy.

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