February 7, 2013
Images of Progress in Oregon Health Coverage
A View of the State of Working Oregon
Oregon is making progress in extending health coverage to Oregonians. As the most recent Census Bureau data shows, the development is particularly encouraging for young adults and children. Still, much work remains to ensure that all Oregonians have health insurance.
A View of the State of Working Oregon is a series of occasional OCPP fact sheets published to help explain Oregon’s economy from the perspective of working families.
See the series here.
Download a copy of this fact sheet:
The share of Oregonians without health insurance declined in 2011, reversing a rise experienced during the most recent recession.
In 2011, the share of Oregonians without coverage dropped to 15.7 percent, down from 17.1 percent in 2010.
With the decline, the rate of uninsured Oregonians returned to essentially the same level as it had been three years earlier. In 2008, the first full year of the recession, the rate stood at 15.8 percent.
In 2011, approximately 602,000 Oregonians had no health insurance, compared to about 650,000 in 2010 and 592,000 in 2008.
Working-age Oregonians (those aged 18-64) recently gained health coverage.
From 2010 to 2011, the rate of uninsured working-age Oregonians dropped from 23.8 percent to 22.1 percent, a 1.6 percentage point decline.
Despite their recent gains in coverage, working-age Oregonians are still much less likely to have health insurance than children or the elderly.
The share of uninsured children has declined every year since 2008, following the launch of Oregon's Healthy Kids program.
Medicare covers nearly all Oregon seniors.
Much of the recent gains in coverage among working-age Oregonians was due to progress among young adults.
For young adults — the group aged 18-24 — coverage rose 6.5 percentage points between 2010 and 2011, cutting their uninsured rate by a fifth.
Specifically, in 2010, 33.1 percent of young adults (one in three) lacked insurance. By 2011, that number had dropped to 26.6 percent, a 20 percent reduction.
Despite the progress, in 2011, young adults still lagged all other Oregonians except the group aged 25-34 in getting coverage.
The increase in health coverage among young adults (Oregonians aged 18-24) primarily occurred in the private insurance marketplace, although public coverage for this age group also increased significantly.
Following implementation in September 2010 of the federal Affordable Care Act provision requiring insurers to allow coverage on a parent’s plan until age 26, private coverage rose 4.8 percentage points among young adults.
Public coverage — mainly through the Oregon Health Plan — among Oregon young adults also increased between 2010 and 2011, rising 2.0 percentage points.
Between 2009, the earliest available detailed data, and 2011, Oregon children experienced a 5.7 percentage point drop in private health coverage.
Yet, the share of Oregon children with health coverage during and following the recession rose. The reason: an important public structure.
Oregon's Healthy Kids program more than made up for losses in private coverage. Public coverage for children increased 9.5 percentage points from 2009 to 2011. So, despite the loss of private insurance, overall children’s coverage rose by 3.1 percentage points over the two year period.
Racial and ethnic minorities in Oregon are more likely to lack health insurance than whites.
In 2011, 13.2 percent of white Oregonians went without coverage. By contrast, 16.5 percent of African-Americans and 16.7 percent of Asians were uninsured.
Other groups fared even worse. In 2011, 28.1 percent of American Indian/Alaskan Natives, 29.0 percent of Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders and 30.9 percent of Latinos lacked health insurance.
While two of every three uninsured Oregonians in 2011 were white, minorities were disproportionately represented among the uninsured.
The vast majority of Oregonians lacking health insurance are United States citizens.
In 2011, 81.0 percent (four out of five) of uninsured Oregonians were citizens. An estimated 77.9 percent of the uninsured (more than three quarters) were born in the country, and 3.1 percent were naturalized citizens.
The remaining 19 percent of the uninsured were non-citizens. This group included both documented and undocumented individuals.