Some states could reduce their uninsured rate by up to about 20% using tax credits or expanded public health insurance programs, depending on current offerings, income levels, insurance markets and other factors, a study for the Commonwealth Fund found. "The message is that there is no single solution that will work for all the uninsured, so we need a variety of offerings," said study co-author Sherry Glied, a professor at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Tax credits of up to $1,000 for low-income individuals and up to $3,000 for low-income families would lower states' uninsured rates by 4.4% to 20.5%, according to the study, published online by Health Affairs. Some states could achieve an additional reduction of up to 4.7% with tax credits for small employers covering 25% of the cost of health insurance for their workers, the study said.
Expanding Medicaid to individuals earning less than 133% of the federal poverty level would decrease the uninsured rate by more than 18% in some states, and opening the State Children's Health Insurance Program to parents of eligible children would pay off in a 0.7% to 10.3% reduction in states' uninsured rates. Read the study. -- by Tony Fong