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Census Numbers Show a Drop in Uninsured New Yorkers

Sep 17, 2015

There are 63,000 people in the greater Rochester metro area who still don’t have health insurance, a couple of ticks down from last year. Statewide, 8.7 percent of New Yorkers remain uninsured, 2 percent fewer than in 2013. The U.S. Census Bureau released those numbers Thursday.

Those numbers reflect the state roll-out of the health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act. During the next open enrollment period, the state will start a new Basic Health Program aimed to catch people who don’t qualify for Medicaid, but can’t afford private insurance.

Elisabeth Benjamin, Vice President of Health Initiatives at the Community Service Society, says the plan will slowly cover more people under Obamacare. “Rolling out new insurance programs always takes time to ramp up. And I think every year we will continue to see our uninsured rate decline, just as Massachusetts did,” says Benjamin.

Christine Wagner is the executive director of the St. Joseph's Neighborhood Center and the co-chair of the Partnership on the Uninsured. She says drops in the numbers of people without insurance can be encouraging, but hide another problem.

“That number while it’s really good, it counts those who have insurance, but it’s not counting those who aren’t able to use their insurance,” says Wagner.

The New York State of Health signed up more than 2 million people since it opened for 2014 coverage. Statewide 1.7 million people are currently uninsured.

Find more U.S. Census Bureau data at http://factfinder.census.gov/