On Monday, CHIA released their estimate of insurance coverage in Massachusetts (pdf) for 2012.
The good news conclusion? Insurance coverage remains high in Massachusetts, with approximately 96.2% – 97% of all residents covered. Less than four percent of residents are uninsured. Essentially, the 2012 coverage level was unchanged from the 2011 figure of 96.9%.
Because the state did not conduct its own survey like usual, the estimate is based on an analysis of several national surveys that include break-outs for Massachusetts. We were disappointed that CHIA decided to forgo its survey for 2012, and pleased that they will resume their survey for 2013.
Along with the survey, we urge CHIA to resume releasing a report similar to the “Key Indicators” that its predecessor agency used to produce regularly. That report included a hard count of the number of insured residents, by source of insurance, that was a more accurate aggregate coverage total than survey estimates.
This week’s report also mentions other research CHIA is currently funding. Their employer survey is returning, and they have commissioned three research studies on uninsurance and underinsurance in Massachusetts. One, with HCFA participation is looking at potential barriers to access for Hispanics who are uninsured and newly insured. The others will explore utilization and outcomes for members in high deductible health plans and consumer perceptions of affordability.
We were also puzzled by the fact that CHIA decided to silently slip-stream this report, with no public announcement to its email list, twitter followers or the press. This led a long-time opponent of health reform to accuse “Massachusetts’ Liberals Bury Bad News about Rising Uninsured Rate on Thanksgiving Weekend.” But unless one is rooting for more people without coverage, the report itself is all good news, from our point of view.