Health and Family Services Cabinet
National Rankings Find More Kentuckians Have Health Coverage
Kentucky Ranks First in Growth of Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance
While the rest of the country has seen the number of uninsured people continue to rise, the Kaiser Family Foundation, a well-respected national think tank, released data on April 26 ranking Kentucky No. 1 in the nation in the growth of employer health insurance and fourth in the drop in the number of uninsured people.
"One of our top priorities has been improving access to health care coverage, particularly coverage offered by employers," said Governor Ernie Fletcher. "This data shows that our initiatives to help cover uninsured Kentuckians — the vast majority of whom are among the working poor — are making substantial progress. We still have more to do, but we will continue to move forward with our efforts targeted at reducing the ranks of the uninsured in Kentucky."
From 2004 to 2005, Kentucky saw a 3.4 percent increase in employers offering insurance to their employees, more than any other state in the nation, according to Kaiser. In addition, Kentucky’s rate of uninsured people has dropped by nearly 2 percentage points, during a period when most of the rest of the nation experienced an increase. Only Massachusetts, Montana and Oklahoma had bigger drops in the number of uninsured. Kentucky’s overall rate of uninsured is 13.6 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, ranking the state 22nd overall.
The Fletcher administration has focused its efforts on making systematic, significant changes to the insurance environment to encourage insurers and businesses to offer high quality health coverage to Kentuckians. Working with the Kentucky General Assembly , this administration has taken the following steps: implemented a moratorium on mandated benefits through 2007; achieved better levels of consistency with the rest of the country's policies; improved the choice of products and created the Health and Family Services' Secretary's Advisory Committee on Health Care Transparency; and created the Insurance Coverage Affordability and Relief to Small Employers (ICARE) program.
"We see these rankings as formal verification that our initiatives are indeed working,” said Health and Family Services Secretary Mark D. Birdwhistell.
To view the Kaiser Family Foundation's data visit: http://statehealthfacts.org/