What does this measure?
The percentage of people under 65 who are not covered by some form of health insurance, including public sources of health insurance like Medicaid and Medicare.
Why is this important?
Health insurance is critical to families' and individuals' access to care, financial security, and peace of mind. Those without insurance may delay needed care and forgo preventive care altogether, which can lead to medical problems that are more serious and expensive to treat. Financial ruin can result if an uninsured family must cope with a major illness or injury. Insurance allows the often-high cost of health services to be spread over many years.
How is our county doing?
In 2020, about 22,800, or 4%, of Essex County residents under age 65 lacked health insurance. Essex is similar to the state rate and well under the national rate of 10%. Essex's rate has dipped slightly from a high of 6% in 2010, similar to changes in the state rate. The national rate was higher and fell more, dropping from 18% in 2010.
The low rates of uninsured in Massachusetts reflect the 2006 adoption of a state mandate to carry health insurance, which pre-dated and served as a model for the national Affordable Care Act.
How do we compare to similar counties?
Both Lake, IL and Westchester, NY had uninsured rates of 7% and 6%, respectively, in 2020, higher than both Essex and Middlesex, MA (4% and 3%, respectively). The rates in Lake and Westchester were down from 13% in 2010.
Notes about the data
Figures are for individuals under 65. Data from before 2008 is not comparable due to a change in the national survey used to collect the information. Data for this indicator are released annually May, with a 2-year lag.