The uninsured rate in Connecticut has held relatively steady over recent years, despite high unemployment and a struggling economy. Census data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) reveal that an estimated 8.6% (303,000) of all Connecticut residents in 2011 were without health insurance for the entire previous year. Among Connecticut children under age 18, 5.3% (43,000) lacked insurance for the entire year. However, there were no statistically significant changes in the Connecticut uninsured between the most recent two-year period (2010-2011) and the previous period (2008-2009). (Because of small sample survey sizes at the state level, two-year estimates should be used to evaluate trends over time in Connecticut.) The recent stability in the uninsured rate could be attributed to the success of the state’s early and vigorous policy reforms aimed at improving access to health care.
There has been an increase in the number of Connecticut residents who are uninsured over the last decade, as fewer have access to employment-based health insurance. Based on a comparison of two-year average rates:
- There was a statistically significant increase over the last decade in the percentage of all Connecticut residents who lacked health insurance during the entire previous 12 month period, rising from 8.6% in 2000-2001 to 9.9% in 2010-2011. There was no statistically significant change over the decade for uninsured children.
- There was a statistically significant decline in the percentage of people under age 65 in Connecticut who had employment-based health coverage over the decade, dropping from 78.0% in 2000-2001 to 69.8% in 2010-2011. There was a similar significant decrease in children who were covered by employment-based insurance – from 77.8% in 2000-2001 to 67.4% in 2010-2011.
A significant factor in the relative steadiness in the numbers of uninsured in recent years in the face of high unemployment, a struggling economy, and less employment-based insurance was the head start that state policymakers made in recent years on improving access to health care, particularly through expanded access to the HUSKY and Medicaid health insurance programs and more coverage options for young adults.