The number of Utahns without health insurance continues to shrink, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Nearly 8.8 percent of the state’s 3 million residents lacked coverage in 2016, down from 10.5 percent the year before, the latest report by the Census’ American Community Survey says — translating to a total of 265,000 Utah residents without insurance. That decline represents a one-year reduction of about 46,000 people.
The Beehive State’s uninsured percentage was at 14.0 in 2013, three years after Congress passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and officials moved to implement its mandate that all citizens either buy health insurance or pay a tax.
Utah is among about 19 states whose elected leaders have not pursued an ACA-enabled expansion of Medicaid, which provides coverage to many low-income and disabled residents.
According to Census data, the state’s uninsured rate is now slightly higher than the national average, at 8.6 percent, which was down from 9.4 percent in 2015. Seventeen states had higher shares of their residents without health insurance in 2016.
Texas (16.6) and Alaska (14.0) had the nation’s highest uninsured rate, while Massachusetts, Hawaii and Vermont ranked as the lowest nationally, with uninsured percentages of 2.5, 3.5 and 3.7, respectively.
The total number of U.S. residents without health insurance fell to 28.1 million from 29.0 million between 2015 and 2016, the Census reported.