The evidence is there: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has helped shed the nation’s uninsured rate. Since last year, overall, the rate of people without health insurance dropped 3.5 percentage points, and now sits at 13.8 percent, according to Gallup statistics. It’s the lowest level in the seven years the polling firm has measured the data.
State by state, of course, uninsured rates still vary widely. Here are the top 5 states with the nation’s lowest uninsured rates.
Uninsured rate: 7.8 percent
In one year, Maryland saw a 5.1 percent drop in its uninsured rate. That’s because it was one state that both expanded Medicaid and had a state exchange or partnership in 2014. According to Gallup, those two initiatives are the recipe for a dramatic drop in uninsured residents.
“States that have implemented two of the law’s core mechanisms — Medicaid expansion and state health exchanges — are seeing a substantially larger drop in the uninsured rate than states that did not take both of these actions,” Gallup said. ”Consequently, the gap in uninsured rates that existed between these two groups in 2013 nearly doubled in 2014.”
Uninsured rate: 7.4 percent
Like Maryland, the Green Mountain State follows the same recipe. It has both expanded Medicaid and has a state exchange. Last year, Vermont’s uninsured rate was 8.9 percent.
States with the lowest uninsured rates continue to cluster in the East and upper Midwest, according to Gallup.