The rate of Lehigh Valley residents under age 65 without health insurance fell between 2020 and 2021, according to data released by the Census Bureau.
That follows the trend nationwide, where the rate of uninsured decreased in 280 U.S. counties while increasing in 80 counties, helped by Medicaid expansion and other pandemic-era relief initiatives. The new numbers come from the Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE) program, the only source for single-year estimates of people with health insurance in each of the nation’s 3,142 counties.
From 2020 to 2021, uninsured rates dropped in Carbon County from 8.6% to 6.2%; in Lehigh County from 8.3% to 8.2%; and in Northampton County from 6.4% to 6.2%.
The rate of Pennsylvanians under 65 without health insurance declined from 7.7% in 2020 to 6.7% in 2021.
Other highlights from the SAHIE data:
· Estimated county uninsured rates ranged from 2.4% to 46.3%, with a median county rate of 10.4%.
· The Northeast and Midwest had the nation’s largest share of counties with low (below 10.0%) uninsured rates, and the South had the largest share with high (above 15.0%) uninsured rates.
· According to SAHIE, uninsured rates of Americans under age 65 decreased in 2,906 U.S. counties and rose in 10 counties from 2013 (the year before many Affordable Care Act provisions took effect) to 2021. Likewise, 1,231 (39%) U.S. counties had an estimated uninsured rate below 10% in 2021, up from 34% of counties in 2020 and 4% in 2013.
Paula Wolf is a freelance writer