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Health Care Final 10-15-09 -   1.1 - Percent Washingtonians with Health Insurance

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Health Care Final 10-15-09
Healthy State
Economic Recovery
Action Plan

1.1 - Percent Washingtonians with Health Insurance

Are uninsured rates different across age groups, income levels, and regions?

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Data Notes  
Data Source: Washington State Population Survey (WSPS): Bi-annual reporting (December of every even year)

Measure Definition:



Generated by OFM. The WSPS sample included 8,162 Washington state households, with questions focused primarily on employment, family poverty, in-migration, health, and health insurance coverage. Based on this survey, the estimate in 2008 of Washington residents under 65 years of age was 5,816,291. Among these residents, 12.3 percent, or 717,782 people, lacked health insurance at the time of the survey. About one in nine Washingtonians is without health insurance.

Target Rationale:


The overall target is to have 95% of Washington residents under 65 years of age covered by health insurace; for children across all income levels, it is 96% and for children in families with low and moderate incomes, it is 94%. This measure came from The Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) on Health Care Cost and Access. The first goal was, “All Washingtonians will have access to health coverage that provides effective care by 2012, with all children having such coverage by 2010.”
Link to Agency Strategic Plan: To help reach the BRC goal of ensuring access to health coverage for all Washington children by 2010, DSHS has committed to providing coverage to an additional 38,500 children by June 2009.



By tracking health insurance rates for different groups of people and different regions across the state, DSHS can identify challenges to accessing coverage and use this information to implement targeted outreach campaigns.

Notes: (optional)






Children are defined as residents under 19 years of age.

Adults are defined as residents 19-64 years of age. Inclusion of people 65 years and older who are covered by Medicare distort the adult health coverage rates.

In 2007, 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level was $21,027 for a married couple with two children (U.S. Census Bureau, "Poverty Thresholds for 2007 by Size of Family and Number of Related Children Under 18 Years"). Income for 2007 was collected during the 2008 survey.

More information about the WSPS is available at:

Also Available
Action Plan: No
Extended Analysis: Yes

 Drill Down Measures

 Summary Analysis

Across all income levels, 95% of Washington children and 85% of adults had health insurance. 4.6% (78,000) of children and 15.5% (640,236) did not have health insurance.

  • The estimated number of children without health insurance declined by more than 5,000 between 2006 and 2008, but the decrease was not statistically significant.
  • The increase between 2006 and 2008 in the rate of working age adults without health insurance was not statistically significant, but there was a 5.4% statistically significant change between 2000 and 2008.

The vast majority of individuals without health insurance in Washington are poor. Of the roughly 78,000 Washington children without health insurance in 2008, nearly 54,000 (70%) were in families with incomes at or below 250% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) (see graph on Children Total tab to the left). Approximately 463,000 (72.3%) of working age adults without health insurance had incomes at or below 200% FPL (see Adult Total tab).

The largest percentages of children and working age adults without health insurance were found in the West Balance Region (one of 10 WSPS regions), which includes Clallam, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Klickitat, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Skamania, and Wahkiakum counties (see Children Region and Adult Region tabs). This was especially true for low-income children and adults.