#1 in Georgia: 87% of Fayette residents have health insurance

If having health insurance is an indicator of a healthy community, then Fayette County should be in great shape. The latest data supplied by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that Fayette County has the highest percentage of people with health insurance of any of Georgia’s 159 counties.

The most recent data supplied by the bureau’s Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE) showed Fayette County in 2010 having 87.2 percent of its residents with health insurance.

In all, Georgia had 29 counties where 80 percent or more of residents have health insurance. Beyond Fayette’s first place ranking, the state’s other top counties were Forsyth with 85.5 percent, Chattahoochee with 84.9 percent, Harris with 84.3 percent, Columbia with 84.2 percent, Oconee with 83.8 percent, Camden with 82.6 percent and Coweta with 82.4 percent.

Statewide, the numbers showed that 78.1 percent of residents have health insurance. The county with the lowest percentage of insured residents was Echols County at 63.7 percent.

A breakdown by age group across the state shows that those under age 19 fare better when it comes to health insurance, with nearly all Georgia counties ranging from 88-93 percent of their youngest citizens insured. The age data did not account for persons over age 65 due to Medicare coverage.

So how do Fayette County and Georgia compare to the rest of the United States when it comes to residents having health insurance? The answer is, not so well.

With 78.1 percent of its residents insured, Georgia ranks near the bottom of the list, with only New Mexico (77.4 percent), Nevada (74.9 percent), Florida (74.7 percent) and Texas (73.7 percent) having fewer residents with health insurance.

So what about the other states? Topping the list was Massachusetts at 94.8 percent, followed by Hawaii at 91.1 percent, Vermont at 90.3 percent, Connecticut at 89.6 percent, Iowa at 89.3 percent and Wisconsin at 89.2 percent.

Nationwide, the Census Bureau estimated that 83.7 percent of U.S. residents had health insurance in 2010.