About 20M U.S. Residents Gained Coverage Under ACA, Report Finds
By the end of April, as many as 20 million U.S. residents had gained health coverage under the Affordable Care Act through its insurance exchanges and other coverage provisions, according to a Commonwealth Fund report published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, The Hill reports (Al-Faruque, The Hill, 7/2).
The report's co-authors -- Commonwealth Fund President David Blumenthal and Vice President Sara Collins -- said their research aims to offer more clarity into the coverage rates and trends, particularly uninsured rates prior to full implementation of the law last fall. They added that such clarity was needed after problems with the rollout of the ACA's exchanges "received disproportionate attention in the media and in political debate" (Young, CQ HealthBeat, 7/2)
The report reiterated that at least eight million people had enrolled in coverage through the ACA's health exchanges (The Hill, 7/2). In addition, it found that:
- About six million gained coverage through Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program;
- Five million purchased coverage directly from insurers (CQ HealthBeat, 7/2); and
- About one million young adults gained coverage from an ACA provision allowing them to stay on their parents' plans until age 26 (The Hill, 7/2).
Blumenthal and Collins wrote that many gained coverage from the law because they "are no longer shut out of the market or charged exorbitant premiums because of age or preexisting conditions."
The researchers said that there was uncertainty about how many of the 20 million U.S. residents were previously uninsured but added that "it seems certain that many were" (CQ HealthBeat, 7/2). They also noted that the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the ACA will reduce the number of uninsured by 12 million in 2014 and by 26 million in 2017 (The Hill, 7/2).
Further, the researchers predicted that most states will expand Medicaid under the ACA, noting that it took several years for all states to accept the original Medicaid program. They added that it will take years to measure the true success of the law at reducing the uninsured rate and controlling health care costs (CQ HealthBeat, 7/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.