New York Achieves Remarkable Decline in Uninsured Population

(WNY News Now) – New York State’s efforts to provide health coverage have yielded impressive results, with only 5.2% of New Yorkers lacking health insurance in 2021, a stark contrast to the national average of 8.6%. 

From 2010 through 2021, New York State experienced a remarkable annual decrease in the percentage of uninsured residents, culminating in an impressive 5.2% uninsured rate in 2021. This figure stands well below the national average of 8.6% and represents a significant drop from the 11.9% uninsured rate recorded in the state in 2010. The analysis, conducted by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, highlights the effectiveness of public health insurance programs in ensuring coverage for a substantial portion of the population.

This success can be largely attributed to the state’s higher enrollment in public health insurance programs, which extended coverage to 40% of New Yorkers in 2021.

However disparities persist among different ethnicities and income groups. In 2021, only 3% of white New Yorkers lacked insurance, while 10% of Hispanic and 6% of Black and Asian New Yorkers were without coverage. Uninsured rates were notably higher among households with incomes ranging from $25,000 to $49,000.

Comptroller DiNapoli emphasized the positive impact of public policies over the past decade in reducing the number of uninsured New Yorkers. As the state embarks on reprocessing eligibility determinations for public health insurance, DiNapoli stressed the importance of transparency, reporting, and continuous outreach efforts to inform individuals with public health insurance about impending changes to the program.

While private health insurance remains the primary coverage for most individuals both nationally (67%) and within New York (65.9%), the expansion of public health programs at both state and federal levels has played a vital role in diminishing the ranks of the uninsured. Medicaid enrollment rates in New York increased from 20.2% in 2010 to 27.7% in 2021, surpassing national rates each year.

The record Medicaid enrollment of 8 million in June 2023, largely influenced by pandemic-related enrollment growth maintained under federal law, is noteworthy. However, projections from the Department of Health anticipate a decrease to 6.9 million Medicaid recipients by April 2024 due to the recertification process. DiNapoli’s office cautions that if enrollment exceeds these projections, significant unbudgeted costs could burden the Financial Plan.

In conclusion, the state’s strides in reducing the uninsured population are commendable, yet challenges remain in ensuring equitable coverage across ethnicities and income groups. As New York navigates its recertification efforts, DiNapoli urges continued transparency, reporting, and outreach initiatives. Furthermore, potential solutions such as seeking federal waivers to expand health insurance access to a wider demographic should remain under consideration.

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