Health and Science

High number of uninsured among NY, Ky. Obamacare sign-ups

A Hardee's fast food restaurant stands next door to the Breathitt County Family Health Center on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 in Jackson, Ky. Residents of Breathitt County who enrolled in the Affordable Care Act last year were able to seek treatment as of January, 1, 2014.
Luke Sharrett | The Washington Post | Getty Images

If getting health coverage for the uninsured is the primary goal of Obamacare, then New York and Kentucky seem to be doing more than their fair share of that work.

In Kentucky, 75 percent of the nearly 65,000 people who enrolled in private Obamacare insurance sold on the state-run exchange were uninsured at the time they enrolled, according to questionnaires they filled out when they applied. And 75 percent of people who enrolled in Medicaid via the exchange likewise had been uninsured.

In New York, 59 percent of the nearly 343,000 private Obamacare plan enrollees reported being uninsured when they picked their plans. And 90 percent of the Medicaid enrollments via the state's exchange reported having been uninsured.

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The two states disclosed their data to CNBC on Monday and Tuesday.

New York and Kentucky are the only two states known to require that Obamacare applicants disclose their insurance status. Neither the federal government, whose exchange handles enrollments in 34 states, nor any of the other states that operate their own exchanges require Obamacare applicants to disclose their current insurance status.

The lack of data nationwide about the insurance status of Obamacare applicants has provided ammunition to opponents of the Affordable Care Act. Those critics argue that the majority of Obamacare enrollees appear to be people whose prior insurance did not comply with new ACA standards, and not the uninsured who the law was specifically written to help.

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A recent McKinsey study found that in February about 27 percent of people who had selected insurance plans from either the government-run exchanges or other sources had unidentified themselves as previously uninsured.