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State hits No. 43 on uninsured ranking

The third round of open-enrollment periods for health insurance coverage opened Nov. 1, with 11.7 percent of U.S. citizens lacking coverage.

WalletHub, a personal finance website and arm of Evolution Finance, conducted an in-depth analysis of states with the highest and lowest uninsured rates this year. The analysis also broke national figures down to other categories like age, race and income level.

Mississippi ranked No. 43 out of 51 (counting the District of Columbia) for the lowest noninsured rate, coming in at 14.49 percent, a reduction of 3.7 percent.

Coming in first was Massachusetts, Vermont and Hawaii, respectively, with Florida, Alaska and Texas bringing in the rear.

The analysis showed that Mississippi’s children’s uninsured rate decreased by 37 percent and the adult uninsured rate decreased by 19 percent over the past four years. Caucasian uninsured rates are 27.39 percent lower than African-American and 68.61 percent lower than that for Hispanics. Households with higher incomes have 68.92 percent lower uninsured rates than lower-income households, and 39.44 percent of those insured have public health care policies while 60.56 percent have private.

103,965 Mississippians gained health insurance from 2010 to 2014.

No matter your stance on the Affordable Care Act, the new health coverage plan has lowered the number of Americans who have no insurance, both nationwide and in Mississippi.

Mississippi should be proud to have decreased the state’s uninsured rate to 14.49, giving access to affordable health care to the majority of residents. But, the state should also focus on the thousands of people left without access to health care and the economic woes that come along with being uninsured.

The state should work to decrease the number of uninsured further by educating the public and encouraging people to sign up for health coverage. As residents who abide by the law, it is our duty to ensure all Mississippians fall underneath the coverage of the Affordable Care Act.

Those who don’t have health insurance can visit healthcare.gov to gain coverage as soon as Jan. 1. You can sign up for coverage by going online, mailing your information or, talking with someone over the phone or in person.

WalletHub’s full report can be found at https://wallethub.com/edu/rates-of-uninsured-by-state-before-after-obamacare/4800/.