Haves, have-nots in MN health coverage

Lost job. Lost health coverage. Rolled dice.

That was the consistent theme among many of the folks in MPR’s Public Insight Network who responded to our queries on health care during the recession.

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The last three years took out a lot of jobs and in the process torpedoed the way many of us paid for health care.

Updated data in a new Minnesota Health Department report show a “significant decline” in people with employer based health care, driving much of the drop in the insured the past few years.

Below are some compelling charts from the report (click on the charts for a larger view).

Yes, they’re focused on health coverage but these are really snapshots of the hits our typically resilient state economy took in this recession.

Take a look at the data and the report and tell us what jumps out at you.

Here’s the distribution of where Minnesotans got their health coverage and how it’s changed. In 2001, employers were the source of nearly 70 percent of coverage. Seems like ancient history. In the recession, nearly 40 percent of Minnesotans were either in a public insurance program or just went without coverage.

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Here’s a breakdown of uninsured by income. The biggest jump in the recession came for families just above the poverty line — $22,050 for a family of four. Another big jump came in the middle incomes — families of four earning $66,150 to $88,200.

Interestingly, coverage rates have improved in the recession for the lowest income Minnesotans.

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Collectively, the data show how much the job market supports our health care coverage and how deeply the recession has reached into the state’s middle income homes.

The recovery began officially in June 2009 but the state unemployment rate remains stuck at around 7 percent and state officials say it will be mid-2013 before the state recovers the job counts lost in the recession.

That makes it unlikely the health coverage numbers will be any better any time soon.

Among states, Minnesota still has one of the highest rates of health insured citizens. That doesn’t help those who can’t pay for coverage or can’t find a job that eases the burden.

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