StateStats | Health Coverage Stalls as Drug, Suicide Deaths Climb


Death rates from suicide, alcohol and drug overdose are up and so is the growth in health care spending among those with employer coverage. What’s down, or at least stalled, is health insurance coverage rates, according to The Commonwealth Fund’s 2019 Scorecard on State Health System Performance.

The scorecard assesses the states and the District of Columbia on 47 measures of health care, including access, quality and costs of care, health outcomes and income-based health care disparities.

Deaths from suicide, alcohol and drug overdose affect states differently but all contribute to the recent decline in average life expectancy in the U.S. And the overall increases in rates of individuals with health insurance coverage that occurred between 2013 and 2017 have since leveled off. In most states new census data show a decrease in the insured rate for 2018.

Costs grew faster for those with insurance through their employer than for those on Medicare in 31 states between 2013 and 2016. The Commonwealth Fund report also found that per-enrollee costs vary across states and are among the largest drivers of health insurance premiums, which can affect whether consumers choose to enroll in insurance plans and whether they seek health care.

How does your state rate? You can find The Commonwealth Fund’s interactive report and a data center with information by state, region and topic at

Kelly Hughes

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