The percentage of uninsured Minnesotans has hit an all-time low, thanks to recent health reform efforts and an improved economy, state officials say.
That's according to a Minnesota Department of Health and University of Minnesota report released Monday, which found more than 200,000 Minnesotans – including 25,000 children – gained health insurance coverage between 2013 and 2015.
That's cut the state's uninsured rate roughly in half, from 8.2 percent in 2013 to 4.3 percent last year.
Dr. Ed Ehlinger, the state's commissioner of health, said in a news release, "2015 marked an unprecedented advancement for the health and security of Minnesota families – particularly those who had previously been lost in the gaps of our system.”
Officials touted MNsure, the state's online health insurance exchange, for connecting more people to benefits. The law also requires nearly everyone to have health insurance, with people who aren't covered facing a fine.
The percent of Minnesotans who reported getting their health insurance on their own rose slightly in 2015, with about 10 percent getting their coverage through MNsure.
The percent of Minnesotans who have coverage through an employer remained steady.
There are still racial disparities however
But it's not all good news.
Although all groups – regardless of income or race – saw increases in health insurance coverage (most groups' uninsured rates were cut in half), Ehlinger says disparities remain between Minnesotans of color and their white counterparts.
The disparities may be impacting health-related inequities in the state, the report says, including higher rates of infant mortality and chronic diseases.
“These disparities threaten the health of our communities and our state as a whole, and we need to continue to work on reducing them. All Minnesotans deserve an equal opportunity to be healthy, and access to quality health care services is an important part of that," Ehlinger said in the release.
The report also found about 60 percent of people who don't have health insurance may have been eligible for state public programs last year – and 22 percent of those who are uninsured may have been eligible for premium tax credits through MNsure.