Why this is important
Health insurance makes a difference in whether and when people get necessary medical care, where they get their care, and ultimately, how healthy people are. According to a report from the Kaiser Foundation1, persons without insurance2 are less likely to receive preventive care and care for routine medical conditions and injuries. The lack of preventive and routine care can lead to more serious illness and health problems; these may then result in increased medical costs, including hospitalizations.
What the data show
The chart below shows the percentage of persons under the age of 65 without health insurance in the seven metro counties and Minnesota. The rate of uninsured persons under age 65 in Dakota County decreased in 2011 (-0.9%) and 2013 (-1.2%). Across the metro area, four counties experienced a decline in the uninsured rate in 2013, while Scott and Washington Counties showed the opposite trend.
Dakota County’s rate of uninsured people in 2013 is lower than those of Minnesota, Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, but is higher than Carver and Washington Counties. For more information about access to health care in Minnesota, see the Minnesota Department of Health.
This chart compares rates of people who are uninsured in Dakota County and Minnesota between 2008 (first year that the data are available) and 2013. In Dakota County, the rate fluctuates between 2008 and 2012 and levels off in 2013. The health uninsurance rate in Dakota County is consistently lower than that of Minnesota. Note that data shown do not yet reflect any changes due to the federal Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act is provided in Minnesota as the health care exchange known as MNSure, which started in 2014.
1 http://kff.org/report-section/the-uninsured-a-primer-2013-4-how-does-lack-of-insurance-affect-access-to-health-care, Nov. 14, 2013.
2 People who had no reported health coverage, or those whose only health coverage was Indian Health Service, were considered uninsured.