More than 97 percent of Massachusetts residents had health insurance this spring -- even as unemployment was rising -- a rate that was still the highest in the nation, according to a state report released today.
The annual survey of nearly 5,000 households between March and June of this year found that about 171,000 people did not have health insurance, a number that is roughly the same as last year's finding.
State leaders said the results indicate that Massachusetts' landmark 2006 health insurance overhaul has held strong.
"The Massachusetts model may not be exactly the right fit for every state to achieve 97 percent coverage, but our success here demonstrates the impact that meaningful reform can have on improving access to care," state Health and Human Services secretary Dr. JudyAnn Bigby said in a statement.
The study, conducted by the Urban Institute on behalf of the state's Division of Health Care Finance and Policy, indicated that roughly the same number of people had health coverage through work this year as last year, despite widespread layoffs.
Division Commissioner Sarah Iselin said one reason the numbers haven't changed much is that many of the people who have been laid off have received subsidies from federal stimulus money to help them pay premiums for health insurance coverage their employers had largely paid for while they were working.
"At some point," Iselin said, "those benefits will expire."
The full report can be found here.
About white coat notes
|White Coat Notes covers the latest from the health care industry, hospitals, doctors offices, labs, insurers, and the corridors of government. Chelsea Conaboy previously covered health care for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Write her at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter: @cconaboy.|
Gideon Gil, Health and Science Editor
Elizabeth Comeau, Senior Health Producer