Many uninsured are unsure of their health insurance plans next year

Nine percent of rural Nebraskans do not have health insurance while 55 percent have health insurance through job benefits. Just under one-quarter (24%) have insurance through a government program such as Medicaid or Medicare. Over one-half (51%) of the persons who have health insurance through a government program also purchased supplemental insurance on their own. This question was also asked in 2004. The responses then are nearly identical to this year.

Do you currently have health insurance? If so, how did you obtain this insurance?

Some of the groups most likely to be without health insurance include: persons with food service or personal care occupations, lower income households, and residents of the North Central region.  Over one-third (34%) of persons working in food service or personal care occupations are currently without health insurance. One-quarter (25%) of persons with household incomes under $20,000 do not currently have health insurance. Fifteen percent of persons from the North Central region do not have health insurance.

Plans for Health Insurance Next Year

Only two percent of rural Nebraskans do not plan to have health insurance next year. Over one-half (54%) expect to have health insurance through job benefits and one-quarter (25%) expect to have health insurance through a government program. Just over two in ten (22%) plan to purchase health insurance on their own next year.

Do you expect to have health insurance next year? If so, how do you think you will obtain this insurance?

Of the uninsured group, 15 percent do not expect to have health insurance next year either. One-third (33%) don’t know if they will have health insurance next year. Other responses for this group include: through job benefits (18%), will purchase on own (14%), will purchase through state exchanges (4%), through a government program (21%), and other (8%).

Many of the groups that were more likely to not currently have insurance are the ones most likely to be unsure if they will have coverage next year.  Eleven percent of the North Central residents don’t know if they will have health insurance coverage next year.

Fourteen percent of persons with household incomes less than $20,000 are unsure if they will have coverage next year. The percentage of this group planning to purchase health insurance on their own increased to 24 percent, compared to 18 percent who currently purchase their own health insurance.

Fifteen percent of the persons with food service or personal care occupations are unsure if they will have health insurance next year. Almost one-third (31%) of this group expect to get health insurance through a government program such as Medicaid or Medicare next year. In comparison, 23 percent of this occupation group currently has health insurance through a government program. And, 17 percent plan to purchase health insurance on their own next year, compared to 10 percent who currently do so. 

Survey Methods

This study is based on 2,317 responses from Nebraskans living in the 84 non-metropolitan counties in the state.[1] A self-administered questionnaire was mailed in March and April to 6,320 randomly selected households. Metropolitan counties not included in the sample were Cass, Dakota, Dixon, Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy, Saunders, Seward and Washington.

A 37% response rate was achieved using the total design method (Dillman, 1978).

Since younger residents have typically been under-represented by survey respondents and older residents have been over-represented, weights were used to adjust the sample to match the age distribution in the nonmetropolitan counties in Nebraska (using U.S. Census figures from 2010).

The margin of error for this study is plus or minus two percent.

[1] In the spring of 2013, the Grand Island area (Hall, Hamilton, Howard and Merrick Counties) was designated a metropolitan area. The mailing list for this survey was already purchased prior to this designation so those four counties were included in our sample and in the data presented here.

For more information about the Nebraska Rural Poll, click here.

The complete report can be viewed here.