Health Insurance Coverage in Massachusetts: Results from the 2008 and 2009 Massachusetts Health Insurance Surveys

Posted on December 1, 2009


Health Insurance Coverage in Massachusetts

Nearly all Massachusetts residents had health insurance coverage this past spring when the 2009 Massachusetts Health Insurance Survey (HIS) was conducted. Only 2.7% were uninsured in spring 2009, which is not significantly different from the estimate of 2.6% uninsured in the summer of 2008, when the 2008 HIS was conducted.

Who are the Uninsured?

Those most likely to be uninsured were non-elderly adults, Hispanic residents, and residents with family income less than 300% of the federal poverty level (FPL). The uninsurance rate for non-elderly adults was 3.5% in 2009 compared to only 1.9% for children. All of the elderly adults included in the survey reported health insurance coverage. There were no significant changes in the uninsurance rates for adults or children in Massachusetts between 2008 and 2009.

In 2009, about 5% of Hispanic residents were uninsured compared to less than 3% for other groups. The uninsurance rate for Hispanic residents was lower in 2009 than 2008 (5% versus 7%); however, that difference was not statistically significant.

Nearly 5% of residents with family income less than 300% of the FPL were uninsured, compared to about 3% of those with family incomes between 300 and 500% of the FPL, and less than 1% of those with family income at 500% of the FPL or higher. With one exception, there were no significant changes in uninsurance rates across income groups between 2008 and 2009. The one exception was for residents with family income at 500% FPL or above, where there was a slight increase in the uninsurance rate.

Type of Insurance Coverage

Among Massachusetts residents with insurance coverage, the majority of children (75%) and non-elderly adults (80%) had employer-sponsored coverage (ESI), while 91% of elderly adultswere covered by Medicare in 2009. Children were more likely than non-elderly adults to be enrolled in public or other coverage (23% versus 15%).

While type of insurance coverage did not change for adults between 2008 and 2009, children were more likely to have ESI coverage and less likely to have public or other coverage in 2009 relative to 2008. A similar pattern for children is reported in the Current Population Survey based on the 2008 and 2009 surveys.

Massachusetts residents who were in fair or poor health or who had activity limitations because of health problems were more likely to be enrolled in Medicare, public, or other coverage than were those who were in better health and without limitations.

Knowledge of Health Reform

Knowledge of health reform appeared to be widespread, with nearly eight out of ten Massachusetts households aware of the individual mandate in 2008 and 2009.

Support for Health Reform

Support for reform was also quite common—nearly three out of four households in Massachusetts supported health reform in 2008 and 2009. This is up from the 64% supporting health reform in September 2006.1

Access to Health Care

These charts focus on health insurance coverage in Massachusetts. A second set of charts, to be released at a later date, will present data on access to health care.

Note on 2008 Estimates

Because of a change in imputations for item nonresponse for 2008, some estimates for 2008 reported here differ slightly from those reported in the 2008 HIS chartbook.

To view the complete report: Health Insurance Coverage in Massachusetts: Results from the 2008 and 2009 Massachusetts Health Insurance Surveys (PPT)Word