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West Virginia’s uninsured falls below 10 percent

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Nearly 100,000 West Virginians gained health insurance between 2013 and 2014, one of the largest drops of uninsured residents in the country, according to new information from the U.S. Census Bureau.

According to the data released Wednesday, the number of uninsured in West Virginia dropped from 14 percent in 2013 to 8.6 percent in 2014. That change, from 255,000 uninsured in 2013 to 156,000 in 2014, represents roughly 99,000 West Virginians who gained insurance, either private or government coverage, in 2014.

West Virginia was one of 11 states that saw a decrease of more than 3.5 percent in its uninsured rate in 2014, and joins a small number of states with uninsured rates below 10 percent, according to the new Census data.

The report also notes that 1,657,953 of West Virginia’s nearly 1.85 million population were insured in 2014. Those numbers should be even higher today, said Renate Pore, the director of health policy for West Virginians for Affordable Health Care. The group estimates that fewer than 100,000 West Virginians are without health coverage today.

More than 600,000 — roughly one-third of the state’s entire population — are enrolled in Medicaid, which saw an enrollment increase of more than 165,000 after West Virginia’s 2013 Medicaid expansion under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

 “We think that less than 100,000 West Virginians are still uninsured, and we’re working on that, but close to 200,000 West Virginians have gained insurance since the Affordable Care Act went into effect,” Pore said. “It’s phenomenal…

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