2010.02.24 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
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Analysis of New Data Characterizes Nebraskans Without Health Insurance
Omaha - Certain Nebraskans – including minorities, the foreign born, those of college age, or with less education – have relatively high uninsured rates regarding health insurance coverage, a new study shows. The analysis, completed by the Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), found that while about 11 percent of Nebraskans do not have health insurance coverage, uninsured rates approach or exceed 30 percent for state residents with certain characteristics.
The report, released today at http://cpar.unomaha.edu/documents/hireport.pdf, provides new information to aid the current public debate regarding health insurance coverage.
The report makes the following key points regarding health insurance coverage of Nebraskans:
• About 190,000 Nebraskans, or 11 percent of the population, had no health insurance coverage in 2008.
• Those experiencing economic hardships have higher uninsured rates, as 42 percent of the unemployed, 28 percent of those in poverty, and 21 percent of those receiving food stamps did not have health insurance.
• Nebraska uninsured rates are higher among minority population groups. Uninsured rates are highest among Hispanics and Blacks, at 28 and 22 percent respectively, compared to 8 percent for non-Hispanic Whites. Differentials in health insurance coverage rates by race and ethnicity are larger in Nebraska than those that exist nationally.
• Uninsured rates are quite high among Nebraska’s foreign born population (35 percent), especially those foreign born residents who, regardless of legal residence status, are not United States citizens (45 percent).
• By age, uninsured rates are highest among those of college age (18-24 years, 22 percent) and those of early working age (25-34 years, 17 percent).
• More than half of the health coverage plans held by Nebraskans are provided by employers or unions (57 percent). Seventeen percent of plans are directly purchased, while Medicare and Medicaid provide 12 and 9 percent of all plans.
Based on 2008 data collected for the first time by the U.S. Census Bureau, the analysis is believed to be among the first of its kind to detail the characteristics of the uninsured at the state level. Prior state data were limited mostly to uninsured rates for broad age groups, and were thus narrower in scope than this analysis of numerous uninsured characteristics. The new analysis utilized a large survey data source available only recently, improving the quality of the information.
Those experiencing economic hardships have relatively high uninsured rates, as 42 percent of the unemployed, 28 percent of those in poverty, and 21 percent of those receiving food stamps did not have health insurance coverage. Additionally, uninsured rates are three times higher among those who rent their residence compared to owning it (21.3 versus 7.1 percent) and who do not have a four-year college education in contrast to those with a Bachelor’s Degree or more education (13.2 versus 3.9 percent).
Large differentials in coverage rates exist by race and place of birth, and the differentials in Nebraska exceed those that exist nationally. Nebraska uninsured rates are highest among Hispanics and Blacks, at 28 and 22 percent respectively, compared to 8 percent for non-Hispanic Whites. The uninsured rate for Nebraska’s foreign born population stands at 35 percent, compared to 9 percent for those born in the United States. Regardless of legal residence status, foreign born Nebraskans who are not U.S. citizens have tanalyzed, at 45 percent.
Although uninsured rates are higher among minorities and the foreign born, the overall number of Nebraskans without health insurance is predominately non- Hispanic White and native born. Of Nebraska’s 190,000 uninsured, about 123,000 are non-Hispanic White and about 153,000 are native born. While the report focuses on uninsured rates, the overall number of uninsured also should be considered within discussions on health insurance.
Due to Medicare eligibility, nearly universal coverage exists among those aged 65 and older. Most of those on Medicare have additional forms of coverage as well, predominately by direct purchases from an insurance company. The uninsured rate is also relatively low among Nebraska children under age 18, at only 7 percent. Uninsured rates are much higher among those aged 18-24 and 25-34, at 22 and 17 percent respectively.
More than half of the health coverage plans held by Nebraskans are provided by employers or unions (57 percent). Seventeen percent of plans are directly purchased, while Medicare and Medicaid provide 12 and 9 percent of all plans. Coverage from the military or provided by Veteran’s Affairs each separately represents about 3 percent of Nebraska health plans.
Given the report’s various findings, it concludes that whether or not the health care system is reformed directly, certain programs aiming to create jobs or improve education can have an additional benefit of indirectly leading to a reduction in uninsured rates.
About the Center for Public Affairs Research
The Center for Public Affairs Research is a research and community outreach unit of the College of Public Affairs and Community Service. The Center leads the Nebraska State Data Center, compiling and disseminating various data for Nebraska and its communities that aid the decision making process.
For more information on the report and UNO's Center for Public Affairs Research, contact David Drozd: firstname.lastname@example.org or (402) 554-2132.
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