RI County Tops List Of Uninsured

Feb 6, 2014

A new analysis of some of the most recent census data for the Associated Press by the University of Minnesota's State Health Access Data Assistance Center finds that half the nation's uninsured people under age 65 live in just 116 of the nation's 3143 counties.

Providence County, RI is one of those, as you can see on this map here.

Snapshot of the interactive map of America's uninsured, analysis for the AP by SHADAC.
Credit Associated Press / University of Minnesota, State Health Access Data Assistance Center

More than 15% of the county's 500,000 or so citizens are uninsured, according to the analysis.

We already knew that Rhode Island had about 125,000 or so uninsured residents, a sizeable chunk of the state's modest population. But perhaps looking at the data this way can help HealthSource RI and other exchanges target their outreach efforts better.

The analysis comes less than 60 days before everyone has to have health insurance or face a tax penalty.

It would be fascinating to layer this map with some other data, I think: poverty, immigration status, health issues. Are counties with the highest percentage of uninsured residents also home to the highest percentage of certain kinds of health problems? Are they among the poorest? Are language and immigration status barriers to access to health care or health insurance? Undocumented immigrants aren't eligible for Obamacare, but legal immigrants may not be aware of what's out there for them, for instance.

Demographers, epidemiologists, statisticians...have at it!