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Region has higher uninsured rate





The percentage of people without health insurance in northwest Kansas is slightly higher than the average for the state of Kansas, according to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The latest numbers are for 2011, although 2012 numbers will be released in December as part of a larger release detailing population information.

The numbers are part of the bureau's Small Area Health Insurance Estimates project.

The estimates show the number of people younger than 65 years old with and without health insurance. The estimates cover all 3,140 counties in the nation, including those in Kansas.

Northwest Kansas counties are similar in terms of the percentage of residents without health insurance. However, Logan, Osborne, Rawlins, Russell and Sherman counties all had the highest uninsured rates in the area -- in the 17-percent range in 2011.

Generally speaking, the rate of uninsured residents has fluctuated in the past five years, with some counties seeing dramatic declines.

The estimates are based on a series of inputs, including aggregated federal tax returns, participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid and children's health insurance program participation.