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HealthBeat

State uninsured rate continues to drop

The state’s uninsured rate continues to decline three years after implementation of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, according to a new report.

In 2016, the percentage of people uninsured in Washington dropped to 5.4 percent – a record low, according to a new report by the state Office of Financial Management.

In 2013, prior to the ACA, the state’s uninsured rate was 14 percent. The rate dropped to 8.2 percent in 2014 and then 5.8 percent in 2015, according to the report.

The 2016 drop means the uninsured rate has decreased more than 60 percent since 2013. State officials expect the 2017 uninsured rated to stay at about the same level as 2016, according to the report.

The declining uninsured rate mirrored the national trend, with one exception. In 2014, the state’s uninsured rate dropped 41 percent; nationwide, the decrease was about 19 percent.

The difference in pace, according to the OFM, is due to Washington adopting the Medicaid expansion. Nationwide, only about half of states implemented the expansion.

While state officials expect the uninsured rate to be about the same in 2017 as it was in 2016, the “current political atmosphere” has created uncertainty about future health coverage, according to the report.

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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