New mapping provides county-by-county profile of NC’s low-wage uninsured workers

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Researchers at the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families have published a new report that profiles the hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians attempting to survive without health insurance.

North Carolina, of course, is one of 12 states that has not yet taken up Medicaid expansion, thus denying a huge number of working adults access to quality, affordable health care. If the state expanded Medicaid coverage, Georgetown experts estimate that at least 372,400 uninsured adults, or one-third of the state’s uninsured population, could gain health insurance. Other estimates place the number even higher.

According to the Georgetown research, “42 percent of those working without insurance are employed in the hospitality, retail, and construction industries. These are cashiers, cooks, freight and stock laborers, waiters/waitresses, and even nursing assistants who earn too much to qualify for current Medicaid coverage and too little to buy private insurance.”

The report also offers the following demographic breakdown:

Our analysis finds that women make up a disproportionate share of low-income, non-elderly North Carolinians (58 percent). In North Carolina, 59 percent of uninsured, low-income non-elderly citizens are White, 32 percent are Black, and the remainder describe themselves in other categories including American Indian, Asian/Pacific Islander, or multi-racial. Approximately 6 percent of uninsured, low-income non-elderly citizens are Latino.

The map below shows that the uninsured rate for all non-elderly adult workers varies considerably across the state, ranging from 5.8 percent in Gates County to 27.2 percent in Avery County. While uninsured working adults live in communities across the state, the 14 counties with the highest proportion of uninsured working adults are in rural parts of North Carolina.

Hover over the map to check out the uninsured rate for working adults in your county. Click here to explore the rest of the report.

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