Sep 19, 2022 - News

Utah's reliance on private insurance leaves big gaps

Estimated share of people with private insurance coverage in 2021
Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Map: Simran Parwani/Axios

Utah has the nation's highest rate of private health insurance coverage — but the lowest rate (by far) of public insurance, according to new census data.

Why it matters: That leaves Utah with an above-average rate of uninsured people.

By the numbers: 78% of Utahns are covered by private insurance — above the national rate of 67%.

  • But Utah's low rates of public insurance are even more extreme: 22% — a far cry from the national average of 37%.
  • That leaves 9% of Utahns uninsured, above a national rate of 8.6% and the 19th worst rate of any state.

Zoom in: Utah has the nation's lowest rate of Medicare coverage — not too surprising since its population is exceptionally young.

  • But it also had the nation's lowest rate of Medicaid coverage, even lower than states that haven't expanded eligibility. (Utah expanded Medicaid in 2020.)
  • Yes, but: Medicaid enrollment has been rising steadily since mid-2021, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The big picture: Utah was one of the only states with a high number of uninsured people despite having high rates of private insurance coverage.

  • On the other hand, states with high rates of public insurance tended to have lower rates of uninsured people.
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