Survey: Many Minnesotans still without insuranceby Lorna Benson, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A new report shows that the portion of Minnesotans who have health insurance has not recovered from losses that occurred during the recession that ended in 2009.
Minnesota's uninsured rate in 2011 remained essentially unchanged at 9.1 percent, despite improvements in the state's job picture.
"Whatever recovery has occurred in the labor market has not come with jobs that provide employer coverage," said Stefan Gildemeister, the state health economist. "Or, if new jobs with employer coverage were added to the economy, we may have lost employer coverage elsewhere."
The number of employers who offer health coverage has remained essentially the same. But Gildemeister said fewer people were eligible for coverage and fewer employees decided to opt-in to employer-sponsored plans — possibly due to stagnant or reduced wages.
Gildemeister said the insurance rate for young adults is the one bit of bright news in the state's data.
"The population between 19 and 25 really is the only group that has seen an improvement in their insurance coverage and an improvement in employer coverage," Gildemeister said. "That's a pretty unique and interesting finding."
Gildemeister said the change is likely due to a provision in the federal health care overhaul that allows young adults to remain on their parents' insurance through age 26.
The study results are based on a telephone survey of more than 11,000 Minnesota households. It was conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.