Number of uninsured Ohioans, children climbing

According to new information released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Ohioans who do not have health insurance has gone up.

In 2018, 744,000 Ohioans did not have health insurance, compared to 686,000 Ohioans in 2017 – an increase of 58,000 people. Ohio was one of only eight states in the country where the uninsured rate went up by an amount that was statistically significant, and one of only four states who elected to expand Medicaid to cover uninsured adults and children whose incomes are at or below 138% of the federal poverty level as a part of the Affordable Care Act.

2018, 744,000 Ohioans did not have health insurance, compared to 686,000 Ohioans in 2017 – an increase of 58,000 people

“The Center for Community Solutions is concerned that the number of uninsured Ohioans is climbing, but even more concerning is the increase in the number of children in the United States who are uninsured,” said John Corlett, Community Solutions’ President and Executive Director.

The new data was released Tuesday as a part of a series of reports it releases each year on things like poverty and health insurance. The data also shows that in 2018, 27.5 million Americans did not have health insurance at any point during the year. This number represents an increase of nearly two million people.

Nationwide, the new data also shows the percentage of children under age 19 who don’t have insurance increased by 0.6 percentage points between 2017 and 2018, so now 5.5 percent of kids in the United States don’t have health insurance.

Many of these kids were likely eligible for Medicaid coverage but weren’t enrolled either because of red tape or because of trimmed outreach efforts. Now it is even more important for Ohio to ensure that its enrollment systems are working efficiently, and to activate outreach efforts to get uninsured children covered,” said Corlett.

The new data also took a look at poverty in the United States, finding that the official poverty rate in the United States went down in 2018, and is significantly lower than it was in 2007, before the Great Recession. In 2018, 38.1 million Americans were considered to be living in poverty, a decrease of nearly 1.5 million people. The number of American children living in poverty declined as well, but the number of older adults went up. 

The official poverty rate…is significantly lower than it was in 2007

In Ohio, it looks like poverty fell between 2017 and 2018, but we can’t tell from the available data by exactly how much and whether it is statistically significant. We will have MUCH more information when the American Community Survey 1-Year estimates are released on September 26.