More R.I. adults had health insurance last year, but percentage of children without it rose slightly


PROVIDENCE – Data from the 2015 American Community Survey released by the U.S. Census Bureau Tuesday found fewer Rhode Island adults lacked health insurance in 2015 than in 2014, while the percentage of uninsured children increased slightly in the same time period.

Census data found the number of uninsured adult Rhode Islanders fell to 59,000 in 2015, or 5.7 percent of the population, from 77,000 in 2014, or 7.4 percent.

According to Providence-based The Economic Progress Institute, there are two factors for the drop in uninsured adults: Medicaid expansion, which accounts for insuring 60,000 adults whose income is marginally above with the poverty line, and HealthSource RI, which allowed for an additional 35,000 adults, with varying degrees of low income, to purchase private insurance.

The state fiscal year 2015 Rhode Island Annual Medicaid Expenditure Report found one in four Rhode Islanders relies on federal or state Medicaid program for health insurance.

Rhode Island ranked seventh nationally, for its percent of residents insured, and third in New England behind Massachusetts, which took first place nationally with 2.8 percent uninsured, and Vermont’s second place overall ranking of 3.8 percent.

“Besides the obvious benefits for families and individuals, having a healthy work force is a good selling point for our state,” Linda Katz, policy director for The Economic Progress Institute, said in a statement.