The number of New Mexicans without health insurance has dropped by half since 2011, according to a U.S. Census report released Tuesday. (You can go to Figure 8 to see a graph that shows uninsured rates by state as of 2016.)
Fewer than 1 in 10 New Mexicans had no health insurance in 2016 compared to 2 in 10 in 2011. The drop in New Mexicans without health insurance — or, put another way, the growth in the number of New Mexicans who do have health insurance — continues a trend triggered when Gov. Susana Martinez opted in 2013 to expand Medicaid to more New Mexicans. The expansion of the government’s health insurance program for the low-income went into effect in 2014.
A decade ago, New Mexico struggled with the second-highest rate of residents who did not have health insurance, topped only by Texas.
This week’s report highlights the marked improvement New Mexico has made in relationship to other states in ensuring that more of residents are insured. The Census report found 13 states with uninsured rates higher than New Mexico’s in 2016, although the state remains slightly below the U.S. average.
Many of the states lagging New Mexico in providing health insurance, including Texas and Oklahoma, did not expand Medicaid.
Nationally, the percentage of Americans with health insurance coverage for all or part of 2016 was 91.2 percent, 0.3 percentage points higher than the rate in 2015, the Census report found.
Since 2014, when the Medicaid expansion went into effect, the number of New Mexicans with health insurance has grown. Those without health insurance in 2014 made up about 14.5 percent of the population compared to 10.9 percent in 2015. In 2016, the percentage of New Mexicans without health insurance hovered around 9 percent, according to the report.