- Associated Press - Friday, September 18, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The rate of Kansas residents who are uninsured has dropped to 10.2 percent amid a national movement to increase health coverage.

About 12.3 percent of people in Kansas weren’t covered by health insurance in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The new information indicates that about 57,000 fewer people were uninsured in 2014 compared to 2013, the Topeka Capital-Journal (http://bit.ly/1QmMpLk ) reported.

Nationwide, the rate of uninsured Americans fell from 14.5 percent in 2013 to 11.7 percent in 2014. That means about 8.5 million more people had health insurance last year than those who had it the previous year.

In Kansas, the 2.1 percent point decrease largely was due to the state’s rollout of health insurance exchanges, said Robert St. Peter, president and CEO of the Kansas Health Institute.

Under the Affordable Care Act, uninsured people across the U.S. are able to purchase health insurance cover with tax credits depending on income and family size. This has caused every single state to experience a decrease in their uninsured rates, according to St. Peter.

Although Kansas didn’t elect to do so, some states also expanded Medicaid to people making up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line. The uninsured rate in states that expanded Medicaid fell by an average of 3.4 percentage points, compared to an average decrease of 2.3 percentage points in states that didn’t expand Medicaid.

This year, the uninsured rate likely will fall again in Kansas, but the state probably already has experienced the largest decreases, St. Peter said.

“Over the next few years, we’d expect the uninsured rate to go down, but we expect the big decreases have been in the early years of the ACA (Affordable Care Act),” he said.

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com

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