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Location Affects Chances of Having Health Coverage: EBRI

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The state where people live affects the likelihood that they will have health insurance, the Employee Benefits Research Institute reports.

EBRI studied data on Americans under age 65 with and without health insurance and found that in 11 states–generally in the south central United States–the uninsured averaged close to 20% of the population or more during 2005 to 2007.

Many of these states not only had a smaller share of the population eligible for employment-based health benefits than the national average, but also had a larger proportion eligible for publicly financed health programs.

Lower average income and higher unemployment rates may contribute to these differences, EBRI says.

Texas had the highest level of uninsured, with 27.1% having no health coverage, followed by New Mexico (24.9%), Florida (24.2%), Arizona (21.9%) and Oklahoma (21%).

Those with a relatively low percentage of uninsured include Massachusetts, Minnesota, Hawaii, Wisconsin and Iowa.

Many states with the lowest uninsured rates also have a higher-than-average concentration of racial and ethnic groups that are less likely to be covered by health insurance, EBRI found.