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Uninsured rate remains stable in Minnesota

The number of uninsured people in Minnesota has stayed relatively the same over the past few years, according to survey results released Friday by the state Department of Health.

An estimated 8.2 percent, or 445,000 Minnesotans, said they were without health insurance when surveyed last year. That figure is down from 9.1 percent in 2011, though MDH says rates are more or less the same, considering the number of people surveyed.

The study, which is conducted every two years, surveyed 11,000 Minnesotans.

The study showed that greater Minnesota was slightly better off than the Twin Cities, with 8.1 percent of people reporting that they didn’t have insurance, compared to the 8.4 percent in the metro area.

In northwest Minnesota, which is composed of Roseau, Kittson, Marshall, Pennington, Red Lake, Polk and Norman counties, 6.4 percent of people reported not having insurance, although that result is not statistically significant from the statewide figure. However, it is down from 9.9 percent in 2011.   

The MDH reported that disparities in insurance coverage persisted on the basis of income, age and race in 2013. Almost 35 percent of Hispanic Minnesotans reported that they didn’t have health insurance, as did 15 percent of African-Americans, 13 percent of Asians, and 18 percent of American Indians.

“As we have laid out in the recent health equity report, to truly reduce the health gap related to care and insurance, we need to take a fresh look at a broad range of policies, actions, and engagement strategies to ensure that we are working effectively with these communities,” Dr. Ed Ehlinger, the state’s health commissioner said in a statement.

On the Web: to read the Health Access Study, go to bit.ly/1fOSuAp.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers local business and North Dakota politics. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Bemidji Pioneer.  

(701) 780-1244
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