Topeka, Kan. -- For the second time in less than a week, the U.S. Census Bureau has released estimates on insurance coverage in Kansas.
Thursday's release from the American Community Survey indicated that 356,000 people in Kansas did not have insurance in 2012, which results in an uninsured rate of 12.6 percent. These estimates were essentially unchanged from 2011.
The findings are similar to those released on Tuesday from the Current Population Survey estimating that 369,000 Kansans were uninsured in 2011-2012, an uninsured rate of 13.1 percent.
In other findings released from the ACS, the uninsured rate among Kansas children in 2012 was 6.6 percent, an insignificant change from the 2011 rate of 6.4 percent. An estimated 48,000 Kansas children were uninsured in 2012. Again, these estimates are similar to the CPS data released on Tuesday.
Knowing which survey provides the best estimates can be confusing, especially as politicians and ordinary citizens try to understand the changes occurring with the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Most policy analysts agree that the ACS provides better estimates for individual states and communities, and therefore the ACS will be the data source used by the Kansas Health Institute for most insurance coverage reports going forward.
As it relates to the implementation of Obamacare, many people have wondered if the number of young adults (ages 19-25) without insurance has decreased as a result of the law, which starting in 2010, allowed them to stay on their parent's insurance until age 26. The ACS data released this week show that 22.9 percent of young adults in Kansas lacked insurance in 2012, a significant decrease from 26.8 percent without insurance in 2009. These numbers reflect the national trend among young adults where the uninsured rate has decreased from 31.7 percent to 26.5 percent between 2009 and 2012.
The Kansas Health Institute is an independent, nonprofit health policy and research organization based in Topeka, Kan. Established in 1995 with a multi-year grant from the Kansas Health Foundation, the Kansas Health Institute conducts research and policy analysis on issues that affect the health of Kansans.