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Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Niagara County residents rank near the top when it comes to health insurance. 

A study released today by Univera Healthcare found that Niagara County has a lower uninsured rate than the state and nation.  The county's 7.6 percent uninsured rate for residents of all ages is even lower than all but three U.S states and the District of Columbia.

Univera also found that more individuals in Niagara County receive their health coverage from employers compared to others in the state and nation. The 66.3 percent of those receiving health care from employers is 3.6 points higher than the Western New York average, 3.8 points higher than all of upstate, 9.9 points higher than the state as a whole, and 11.9 points higher than the nation.

GRAPHIC COURTESY OF UNIVERA HEALTHCARE - A closer look at uninsured rates (all ages) in upstate New York from 2010 to 2010. Niagara County had a lower uninsured rate than any region average, as well as the state average.

Even more significant, the percentage of Niagara County residents with health insurance already exceeds goals set by health care reform. A recent Congressional Budget Office report predicted that by 2023 when the Affordable Care Act is fully in place, 89 percent of those younger than age 65 would have coverage. But 92.3 percent of those in Niagara County already have health insurance — three points better, and nine years ahead of the CBO prediction.

Niagara County isn't alone in our higher-than-average numbers. Actually, within Western New York and the Finger Lakes Region, Erie, Monroe and Livingston counties have even higher percentages of insured residents than Niagara County does. Only Livingston County has a higher percentage of those who get their insurance from an employer, however.

“From a taxpayer’s perspective, job-based health insurance is preferable to government-based coverage, because it costs taxpayers less,” Univera President Art Wingerter observed. “We have 371,000 more upstate New Yorkers covered due to job-based benefits than we’d have if we were at the national rate for employer-based coverage.”

“Our region is in much better shape than most of the country,” Wingerter added. “I believe that upstate New York promotes a climate for wiser health care spending fostered by strong local collaborations among those who provide care and the employers and insurers who finance it. Upstate New York is also in a predominately local, nonprofit health plan marketplace characterized by low operating margins among most competing insurers.”

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