Health insurance

Health insurance in Minnesota:

Health insurance affects health status

Health insurance helps ensure access to health care. People without health insurance are less likely to seek medical care for routine conditions or injuries or receive preventative care. Most adults 65 and older are covered by Medicare or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In Minnesota, typically less than 1% of this age group lacks health insurance. For this reason, the indicators on this page explore health insurance coverage among Minnesotans under 65 years of age. 

Disparities in health insurance continue in Minnesota

The following groups of Minnesotans are less likely to have health insurance:

  • those with lower incomes
  • American Indians
  • people of Hispanic ethnicity
  • young adults (26-34 years) 

Disparities in health insurance coverage affect the health status of these groups. More uninsured people report poor health and have fewer healthy days than the overall population of Minnesota.

Health insurance in Minnesota

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For people aged 0-64. Source: Minnesota Health Access Survey. Group insurance is provided by employers to employees and their spouses and dependents. Non-group insurance (previously called “individual” insurance) is self-purchased and not obtained through an employer. 

The proportion of people without health insurance in Minnesota significantly increased from 2001 to 2011, and then decreased between 2011 and 2015. About 5% of Minnesotans under the age of 65 were uninsured in 2015, which is a historical low for Minnesota, even though the state has typically had high rates of health insurance coverage compared to other states.

Increases in health insurance coverage in 2015 were driven by public program expansions along with small increases in both group and non-group insurance coverage.

  • Eligibility expansions under the Affordable Care Act in 2014 likely contributed to the increase in public insurance coverage, especially among children and low income adults. In Minnesota, the two state-based public health insurance programs are Medical Assistance (MA) and MinnesotaCare, in addition to federal public programs like Medicare.
  • The proportion of Minnesotans obtaining non-group insurance (self-purchased insurance) increased slightly, likely due to the Affordable Care Act provisions that took effect in 2014.

There are regional differences in insurance coverage

Minnesotans without health insurance, by region

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Region 2015 2013
Minnesota 4.9% 9.4%
Central 6.6% 8.8%
Metropolitan Area excluding Minneapolis-St. Paul 4.6% 7.3%
Minneapolis-St. Paul 5.7% 13.7%
Northeast 3.6% 9.9%
Northwest 4.2% 11.4%
South Central 5.3% 13.6%
Southeast 2.9% 6.8%
Southwest 6.7% 12.9%
West Central 2.1% 4.0%
These maps are available for download. Percentages are for people aged 0-64 years in 2013 and 2015. Source: Minnesota Health Access Survey. For a map of Minnesota counties within each region, see: SCHSAC Regions in Minnesota.

People living in Minneapolis or St. Paul are no longer less likely to have health insurance compared to the statewide average. In 2015, about 6% of people in Minneapolis or St. Paul were uninsured, which is a significant improvement from the 14% of Minneapolis-St. Paul residents that were uninsured in 2013. The 7-county metro, excluding Minneapolis and St. Paul, typically has a much lower proportion of people without health insurance; these residents had a similar proportion without health insurance to the statewide proportion in 2015. In fact, the statewide average in 2015 was almost identical to the proportion of people without health insurance in Greater Minnesota (the area outside the 7-county metro area), the 7-country metro, or Minneapolis-St. Paul. The proportion of people uninsured in the West Central region of the state was significantly lower than the statewide average.

For county-level data on health insurance coverage, visit the Population Characteristics Data Query.

Racial and ethnic disparities in health insurance coverage persist

Minnesotans without health insurance, by race or ethnicity

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Data are for people aged 0-64 in 2015. Source: Minnesota Health Access Survey.

People in the following race or ethnicity categories were the most likely to be without health insurance in 2015: American Indian (23%) or Hispanic (12% uninsured). American Indian people did not have a significant decrease from the previous survey – 27% of American Indians were uninsured in 2013. The other categories were not significantly different from each other.

Young men are most likely to be uninsured

Minnesotans without health insurance, by age

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Data are for people of all ages in 2015. Source: Minnesota Health Access Survey.

Among Minnesotans under 65, young men between 26-34 years are significantly more likely to be uninsured than the statewide average. The other age groups were not significantly higher than the statewide rate.

The Affordable Care Act, signed into law in March 2010, requires health plans and insurers to make coverage available to dependents until the age of 26, with some exceptions. Expansions to the Affordable Care Act in 2014 improved public program coverage. Accordingly, the proportion of adults aged 18-25 without health insurance has declined since 2009, especially among men. This is typically an age group with one of the highest proportions of people without insurance. The proportion of 18-25 year old men with health insurance has increased dramatically between 2009 (71% insured) and 2015 (94% insured).

The gender gap in insurance coverage has narrowed

Minnesotans without health insurance, by sex

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Data are for males and females under 65 years and children under 18 years. Source: Minnesota Health Access Survey.

The proportion of males without health insurance increased from 2001 to 2009, began to decrease in 2011, and then dropped dramatically in 2015. In 2015, the gap between males and females narrowed to a small difference of less than 1 percentage point: about 5% of females and 5% of males did not have health insurance. Children generally have better health insurance coverage than the statewide average in Minnesota; about 3% of children (<18 years) were without health insurance in 2015, a drop from the previously stable rate of about 6%.

To see data & measures for other Population Characteristics, see:


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