Regional Health Care Assessment


The Regional Health Assessment documents many potential barriers to healthy outcomes and quality care, but arguably the most important of these is health insurance. This provides families, no matter their means, access to quality health care.

Understanding common characteristics of those who do not have coverage can help the community address this gap. The following issue briefs provide data on the status, characteristics and trends of key indicators of health insurance coverage:

An analysis of the data provided in the sections below provide the following picture of health insurance and uninsurance in the region:

  1. Based on 2016 ACS 5-year data, about 10.6 percent of the region’s population is uninsured. This indicates a steady decline since the advent of the ACA, when about 13 percent of the population was uninsured.
  2. Unlike the general population, the majority of the uninsured are adults between the ages of 18 and 54.
  3. Minorities are overrepresented in the uninsured, compared to total population.
  4. Nearly 50 percent of non-citizens don’t have health insurance.
  5. About 31 percent of residents without a high school degree don’t have health insurance, making them at twice as likely to be uninsured as residents who have graduated high school, and nearly 10 times as likely as those with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  6. The uninsured have half the wages, half the household income and twice the poverty rate of the general population in the Kansas City region.
  7. The federal health exchange implemented in Missouri and Kansas under the ACA had a significant impact in lowering the number of uninsured in all counties. According to data from Enroll America — a nonprofit, nonpartisan health care enrollment coalition — 50,273 residents in the 11-county region gained coverage during the first open enrollment period (October 2013 to April 2014). During the second open enrollment, from November 2014 to February 2015, a total of 83,372 residents either renewed their coverage or enrolled through the marketplace for the first time.
  8. Had the states opted to extend Medicaid eligibility to a larger percent of the adult population, the number of uninsured would have been reduced even more.

The ACA was designed to decrease the number of uninsured across the nation and improve the ability of all citizens to access quality health care. The ACA relies on two strategies to reduce the number of uninsured: offering affordable coverage through state health insurance exchanges, and expanding Medicaid. Both Missouri and Kansas rely on the federal health insurance marketplace, rather than state exchanges, and neither state has opted to expand Medicaid.

The impact of the ACA will take a number of years to fully measure, although it has already had a significant impact in lowering the number of uninsured across the Kansas City region.

Data is the most current available as of September 2017.

Produced by the Mid-America Regional Council for the REACH Healthcare Foundation | ©