Low-Wage Uninsured Workers: State Profiles

The recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) includes new large financial incentives for states to extend health insurance coverage to low-wage workers and other adults earning less than $17,775 a year. These incentives apply to regular spending in a state’s Medicaid program and offer a five-percentage point across the board increase in the federal share for a 24-month period after the state extends coverage. The following fact sheets examine which workers and industries would benefit from expansion of Medicaid coverage.

Alabama

The top three industry sectors employing low-wage uninsured workers are hospitality, retail, and health care and social assistance, accounting for approximately 47 percent of those working without insurance; these industry sectors include businesses such as restaurants, general merchandise stores (such as warehouse clubs and supercenters), and nursing care facilities.

Florida

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Georgia

The top three industry sectors employing low-wage uninsured workers are hospitality, retail, and administrative, support, and waste management, accounting for approximately 44 percent of those working without insurance; these industry sectors include businesses such as restaurants, general merchandise stores (such as warehouse clubs and supercenters), and building services (such as janitorial services).

Kansas

The top three industry sectors in Kansas employing low-wage uninsured workers are hospitality, retail, and health care and social assistance, accounting for approximately 44 percent of those working without insurance. Restaurants and other food service establishments are the top employers for these workers. The most common occupational sector for low-wage, uninsured workers is food preparation and serving, followed by sales.

Mississippi

The restaurant, food service, and construction industries employ the most uninsured low-wage workers, collectively accounting for more than a quarter of such workers. Cashiers, cooks, maids and housekeeping staff, waiters/waitresses, and retail workers are most likely to be uninsured.

Missouri

Industry sectors in Missouri with the largest percentage of low-wage uninsured workers are hospitality, retail, and health care and social assistance, accounting for 49 percent of low-wage workers without insurance. The most common jobs for low-wage, uninsured workers are cashiers, cooks, laborers and movers, and maids and housekeeping staff.

North Carolina

Industry sectors with the largest percentage of low-wage uninsured workers are hospitality, retail, and construction, accounting for 42 percent of those working without insurance. The most common jobs for low-wage, uninsured workers are cashiers, cooks, freight and stock laborers, waiters/waitresses, and nursing assistants.

South Carolina

The top three industry sectors in South Carolina employing low-wage uninsured workers are hospitality, retail, and administrative/support/waste management services which together account for almost half of those working without insurance. Another one-fifth of uninsured low-wage workers are found in the construction and manufacturing sectors.

South Dakota

The hospitality sector accounts for 28 percent of those working without insurance. Restaurants and other food service businesses employ one in five low-wage uninsured workers in the state.

Tennessee

The top three industry sectors employing low-wage uninsured workers are hospitality, retail, and construction, accounting for 43.3 percent of those working without insurance. Restaurants alone employ 15 percent of low-wage uninsured workers. The most common jobs for low-wage uninsured workers in Tennessee are cooks, cashiers, laborers/movers, and janitors.

Texas

The top three industry sectors employing low-wage uninsured workers are hospitality, retail, and health care and social assistance, accounting for almost half (48.5 percent) of those working without insurance. The most common jobs for low-wage, uninsured workers in Texas are cashiers, cooks, waiters and waitresses, retail sales, and personal care aides.

Wyoming

The top sectors employing low-wage uninsured workers in Wyoming are hospitality and retail, accounting for more than half (57.1 percent) of those working without insurance. Within these industries, the top occupation types are food preparation and serving, and sales which encompass 39.7 percent of Wyoming’s uninsured low-wage workers.

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