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A Look at How Texas' Uninsured Rate Has Fallen

While Texas' rate of uninsured people has fallen below 20 percent for the first time in more than a decade, new U.S. Census data released Thursday shows disparities in access to health insurance.

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While Texas' rate of uninsured people has fallen below 20 percent for the first time in more than a decade, new U.S. Census data released Thursday shows disparities in access to health insurance.

The state's rate of uninsured fell three percentage points from 2013 to 2014, but Texas still claims the highest percentage of people without health insurance. The Lone Star State has also edged out California with the largest raw number of uninsured people in the country. About 5 million Texans were uninsured in 2014, or 19 percent, compared with 5.75 million, or 22 percent, the year before.

Use the interactive below to search the state's metro areas to see how the uninsured rate changed, for the overall population and select demographic groups.

The first comprehensive census data to include a full year of enrollment under President Obama's signature health law shows that the overall drop in the uninsured rate was more significant for people of color — but that trend did not hold for every metro area. While Hispanics statewide saw the biggest drop in the uninsured rate, in Waco, for example, Hispanics' uninsured rate grew by 3.2 percentage points. That's despite the city's overall rate declining 1.1 points.

 

Some of the most significant drops were in the state's biggest cities. The San Antonio metro area's uninsured rate dropped by nearly 4 points, while in Houston and Dallas, the drop was just over 3 points. Austin was an exception, falling less than 2 percentage points.

Disparities persisted among age groups as well. Of young adults ages 19 to 25, the percentage of uninsured Texans fell from nearly 39 percent to 33 percent. The Affordable Care Act allows many people to remain on their parents' insurance plan until they turn 26.

Eleven percent of Texas children younger than 18 are uninsured. Among Texans older than 65, that figure is 2 percent.

 

Advocates for the uninsured have pushed Texas to expand Medicaid — an optional tenet of the federal health law opposed by the state’s Republican leadership — which could grant insurance coverage to up to 1 million adults living in poverty here. State leaders have criticized Medicaid, the federal-state insurer for the poor and disabled, as an inefficient program and questioned why the government should expand its coverage to more adults.

About 26 percent of adults ages 18 to 65 in Texas are uninsured, according to the Census survey.

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