16 States With the Worst Rates of Health Insurance

Uninsured patient in a hospital room
Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley / Shutterstock.com

Health insurance isn’t a guarantee that you won’t end up stuck with big medical bills, but it can help reduce the chances that a major illness or injury could push you into bankruptcy court.

In 2019, 9.2% of U.S. residents were without health insurance coverage, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Not every state has the same share of residents without insurance, however. This statistic for each state ranges from a high of 18.4% to a low of 3%.

Following is a look at the states with the largest shares of uninsured residents.

For a ranking of the states with the smallest shares of uninsured residents, check out “14 States Where the Most People Have Health Insurance.”

15. Missouri (tie)

St. Louis, Missouri
Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

The Affordable Care Act of 2010 gave states the option to expand Medicaid eligibility to people whose income was below a particular threshold. Missouri, like most states on this list, is among more than a dozen states that had not expanded its Medicaid program as of Jan. 1, 2019, the Census Bureau reports.

Medicaid is a joint federal and state health insurance program that covers people with low incomes or disabilities.

Share of the state’s population without health insurance coverage in:

  • 2019: 10%
  • 2018: 9.4%
  • 2010: 13.2%

State’s Medicaid expansion status as of Jan. 1, 2019: Not expanded

15. New Mexico (tie)

Hot air balloons in New Mexico
Tim Pleasant / Shutterstock.com

It’s not just health insurance rates that could be better in New Mexico. A 2020 WalletHub analysis ranked it as the worst state in the nation for families, as we detail in “The 10 Best and 10 Worst States for Raising a Family in 2020.”

Share of the state’s population without health insurance coverage in:

  • 2019: 10%
  • 2018: 9.5%
  • 2010: 19.6%

State’s Medicaid expansion status as of Jan. 1, 2019: Expanded eligibility

14. Tennessee

Tennessee
CrackerClips Stock Media / Shutterstock.com

Between 2010, when former President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, and 2019, the share of Tennessee residents without insurance fell 4.2%. The Census Bureau notes that this trend stands nationwide:

“All states and the District of Columbia had a lower uninsured rate in 2019 than in 2010.”

Share of the state’s population without health insurance coverage in:

  • 2019: 10.1%
  • 2018: 10.1%
  • 2010: 14.4%

State’s Medicaid expansion status as of Jan. 1, 2019: Not expanded

13. South Dakota

Sharon Day / Shutterstock.com

South Dakota has the dubious distinction of having the lowest average annual wage for registered nurses of any state in the country, as we report in “How Much Nurses Get Paid in Every State.”

Share of the state’s population without health insurance coverage in:

  • 2019: 10.2%
  • 2018: 9.8%
  • 2010: 12.4%

State’s Medicaid expansion status as of Jan. 1, 2019: Not expanded

11. Idaho (tie)

Boise, Idaho
By Charles Knowles / Shutterstock.com

Share of the state’s population without health insurance coverage in:

  • 2019: 10.8%
  • 2018: 11.1%
  • 2010: 17.7%

State’s Medicaid expansion status as of Jan. 1, 2019: Not expanded

11. South Carolina (tie)

My Images – Mica / Shutterstock.com

Share of the state’s population without health insurance coverage in:

  • 2019: 10.8%
  • 2018: 10.5%
  • 2010: 17.5%

State’s Medicaid expansion status as of Jan. 1, 2019: Not expanded

9. Arizona (tie)

Sedona, Arizona
DBSOCAL / Shutterstock.com

Share of the state’s population without health insurance coverage in:

  • 2019: 11.3%
  • 2018: 10.6%
  • 2010: 16.9%

State’s Medicaid expansion status as of Jan. 1, 2019: Expanded eligibility

9. North Carolina (tie)

Margaret.W / Shutterstock.com

Share of the state’s population without health insurance coverage in:

  • 2019: 11.3%
  • 2018: 10.7%
  • 2010: 16.8%

State’s Medicaid expansion status as of Jan. 1, 2019: Not expanded

8. Nevada

Photo by Flickr user xiquinho

Share of the state’s population without health insurance coverage in:

  • 2019: 11.4%
  • 2018: 11.2%
  • 2010: 22.6%

State’s Medicaid expansion status as of Jan. 1, 2019: Expanded eligibility

7. Alaska

Mountain range and railroad track in Denali National Park, Alaska
Martina Birnbaum / Shutterstock.com

Share of the state’s population without health insurance coverage in:

  • 2019: 12.2%
  • 2018: 12.6%
  • 2010: 19.9%

State’s Medicaid expansion status as of Jan. 1, 2019: Expanded eligibility

6. Wyoming

Snowmobilers pass a bison in Wyoming
Carolina K. Smith MD / Shutterstock.com

The Census Bureau report notes that Wyoming saw the largest increase in residents who are uninsured from 2018 to 2019 — 1.8 percentage points. A total of 19 states saw such an increase, although it was less than 1 percentage point in the other states.

Share of the state’s population without health insurance coverage in:

  • 2019: 12.3%
  • 2018:10.5%
  • 2010: 14.9%

State’s Medicaid expansion status as of Jan. 1, 2019: Not expanded

5. Mississippi

Mississippi road sign
Peek Creative Collective / Shutterstock.com

Share of the state’s population without health insurance coverage in:

  • 2019: 13%
  • 2018: 12.1%
  • 2010: 18.2%

State’s Medicaid expansion status as of Jan. 1, 2019: Not expanded

4. Florida

Orlando, Florida
ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

Share of the state’s population without health insurance coverage in:

  • 2019: 13.2%
  • 2018: 13%
  • 2010: 21.3%

State’s Medicaid expansion status as of Jan. 1, 2019: Not expanded

3. Georgia

Columbus, Georgia skyline
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Share of the state’s population without health insurance coverage in:

  • 2019: 13.4%
  • 2018: 13.7%
  • 2010: 19.7%

State’s Medicaid expansion status as of Jan. 1, 2019: Not expanded

Georgia is one of the 18 states that haven’t expanded their Medicaid programs since passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010.

2. Oklahoma

4kclips / Shutterstock.com

Share of the state’s population without health insurance coverage in:

  • 2019:14.3%
  • 2018: 14.2%
  • 2010: 18.9%

State’s Medicaid expansion status as of Jan. 1, 2019: Not expanded

1. Texas

Aneese / Shutterstock.com

Share of the state’s population without health insurance coverage in:

  • 2019: 18.4%
  • 2018: 17.7%
  • 2010: 23.7%

State’s Medicaid expansion status as of Jan. 1, 2019: Not expanded

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
Watch This: Organize Your Home With Dollar Tree Products
Watch This: Organize Your Home With Dollar Tree Products

Here’s how to organize every corner of your home using only items from a dollar store.

5 Memberships That Offer Car Insurance Discounts
5 Memberships That Offer Car Insurance Discounts

These discounts may save you hundreds — even thousands — of dollars a year.

5 Simple Steps to an Awesome Retirement
5 Simple Steps to an Awesome Retirement

The path to your dream retirement begins with these five steps. How many have you already taken?

5 Awesome Places You Can Retire Overseas on $2,000 a Month or Less
5 Awesome Places You Can Retire Overseas on $2,000 a Month or Less

In this week’s podcast: tips on retiring overseas — from someone who’s been helping American expats for decades.

7 Reasons You Should Not Claim Social Security Early
7 Reasons You Should Not Claim Social Security Early

The sooner you claim your Social Security retirement benefits, the more you — and perhaps also your spouse — stand to lose. Here are the stakes.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon

Are you losing money due to any of these missteps?

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?
Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?
Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?

Understanding survivors benefits rules is the key to getting the most from your benefit.

These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation
These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation

Two types of vehicles are especially likely to see steep plunges in value.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

Never Buy These 10 Things With Your Credit Card
Never Buy These 10 Things With Your Credit Card

Credit cards offer many conveniences and protections, but sometimes it’s simply smarter to keep the plastic tucked away.

13 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s
10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021
5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021

These adjustments will affect both workers and retirees in the new year.

11 ‘Disposable’ Items You Should Be Reusing
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores

You don’t have to be a chef or a restaurant owner to shop here.

Stop Buying These 19 Things Online
Stop Buying These 19 Things Online

The internet has changed how we shop. But for some things, you’re still better off buying the old-fashioned way.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

There are easy high-paying majors available in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required. We’re here to help you find easy degrees that pay well.

Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early
Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early

Like the idea of financial independence? Part of the FIRE equation is cutting costs.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing emergency food supply. Is your pantry well-prepared for emergencies? Knowing what to stock up on for emergencies can be a difficult task and we’re here to help.

5 Secrets of Seniors Who Keep Their Minds ‘Young’
5 Secrets of Seniors Who Keep Their Minds ‘Young’

Here is why some seniors’ brains work as well as those of people who are decades younger.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.