New Census Bureau Report Shows Wisconsin Uninsured Rate at Just 5.3%

September 15, 2017

Nearly 95 percent of Wisconsin’s population had health care coverage in 2016. That’s according to the latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau released September 12, which estimates about 300,000 people in Wisconsin lacked health insurance coverage in 2016. 

In 2013, the year before the coverage changes under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were implemented, Wisconsin’s uninsured rate was 9.1 percent. Since then, the rate has steadily fallen reaching just 5.3 percent in 2016—a 42 percent drop in four years. 

Wisconsin continues to have an uninsured rate that is better than 21 of the 31 states that took the full Medicaid expansion under the ACA. While Wisconsin’s version of expansion didn’t meet the definition under the ACA, the state did expand coverage to over 130,000 adults without dependent children with income below 100 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). At the same time, Wisconsin disenrolled from Medicaid some adult recipients with higher incomes when the federal insurance exchange was implemented and subsidies became available to help people buy coverage in the exchange market. Indeed, Wisconsin now has about 63,000 people with income below 150 percent FPL receiving exchange coverage. 

The Census Bureau estimates the national uninsured rate at 8.8 percent for 2016, a reduction of 0.3 percentage points. Wisconsin just outpaced the national reduction in the uninsured with a reduction of 0.4 percentage points from 2015 to 2016.

This story originally appeared in the September 15, 2017 edition of WHA Newsletter