Massachusetts, Northeast Lead Health Coverage Rates; Southern States Trail

According to recent Gallup polling, Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in health coverage, with only 5.3% of its residents uninsured in the first half of 2011. At the other end of the spectrum is Texas, where 27.2% of residents reported being uninsured. Massachusetts has led the nation's states and Texas has trailed them since Gallup began measuring coverage rates in 2008. In Massachusetts, health insurance is required for all residents.

States in the South and West have had lower rates of health coverage in recent years, while states in the Northeast have had higher rates. Of the 10 states with the highest percentage of uninsured adults, eight were Southern and the remaining two--California and Alaska--are in the West. According to Gallup, Hispanics are the most likely demographic group to be uninsured; Texas, California and Florida, all of which have large Hispanic populations, have uninsured rates exceeding 20%. Seven of the 10 states with the lowest uninsured rates are located in the Northeast.

16.8% of adults were uninsured in the first half of 2011, similar to the 16.4% in 2010, but higher than the rate in 2008, when it stood at 14.8%. Only three states have uninsured rates under 10%, and the rate of uninsured adults exceeds 15% in 29 states.

What happens with the Affordable Care Act--and the challenges against it--is something to watch with regard to coverage rates moving forward. Gallup writes: "The fate of uninsured rates in America remains precarious as numerous states are challenging the legality of the new healthcare law in court."

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