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Poll Documents Drop in Uninsured Rate

By Rebecca Adams, CQ Roll Call

February 24, 2015 -- A recent Gallup survey indicates the number of people who have insurance is on the rise. No state in the nation saw an increase in the population of people lacking coverage, and nationwide, the uninsured rate fell 3.5 percentage points from 2013 to 2014, according to the poll.

Arkansas and Kentucky led the states in expanding coverage, followed by Oregon, Washington, West Virginia, California and Connecticut.

The national uninsured rate fell from 17.3 percent of Americans in 2013 to 13.8 percent in 2014, the lowest annualized rate that the Gallup poll has been tracking health care coverage.

The states that saw the biggest improvements were those that both expanded Medicaid to people with income of up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level and chose to set up their own health insurance marketplaces. The uninsured rate fell 4.8 percentage points in states that took both steps, while those that did just one or neither fell 2.7 percentage points.

In August, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that more than 10 million people gained coverage from January 2012 through June 2014. That translates into a drop in the uninsured rate of 5.2 percentage points by the second quarter of 2014.

The Gallup poll sample size was 178,072 adults in 2013 and 176,702 adults in 2014. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 1 to 2 percentage points for most states, but is close to plus or minus 4 percentage points for states with small populations such as North Dakota, Wyoming, Vermont, and Alaska.

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