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Washington Ranks 2nd In Nation In Uninsured Growth

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With about 16 percent of its residents uninsured, Washington state falls solidly in middie of the pack, with Texas having the highest percentage of residents without health insurance: more than 25 percent. Massachusetts, where a state health-insurance mandate has been in place for years, has the smallest percentage of uninsured residents at just under 5 percent.

But in one way, and not a good one, Washington nearly led the nation, a recent report revealed. From 2008 to 2011, the state’s increase in the number of residents without insurance was second-highest.

The latest numbers come from the U.S. Census Bureau’s recently released 2011 Small Area Health Insurance Estimates for counties and states.

Washington ranked ranked high in two other measures: the percentage of under-age-65 Hispanics without insurance, and the percentage of people under age 65 living at or below the poverty level without insurance.

Only Tennessee had a higher rate of growth in uninsured residents from 2008 to 2011.  Some states stayed virtually the same, and some had decreases.

The Census Bureau’s report also looked at counties. In Washington, the county where the percentage of uninsured residents grew the most from 2008 to 2011 was San Juan with an increase of 4.3 percent. It was followed by Mason and Whatcom counties. King County had an increase of 2.5 percent.