Number of Uninsured Drops by 11.4M Since ACA Passage, CDC Finds
The number of uninsured U.S. residents reached its lowest level in more than 15 years, dropping by more than 11 million residents since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law five years ago, according to a CDC report, AP/U-T San Diego reports.
The report compared the uninsured rate from the first nine months of 2014 with annual statistics from the National Health Interview Survey as far back as 1997.
The number of uninsured U.S. residents declined from 48.6 million in 2010 to 37.2 million between January and September of last year, marking a drop of 11.4 million individuals since the ACA was signed.
Meanwhile, the most significant decline in the number of uninsured residents -- 7.6 million -- occurred between 2013 and the first nine months of 2014, as major provision of the ACA went into effect, according to the reports.
Kaiser Family Foundation Senior Vice President Larry Levitt said the drop is "much bigger than can possibly be explained by the economy," adding, "The vast majority has to be due to the" ACA.
According to the report, states that expanded Medicaid saw larger drops in their share of uninsured residents.
In addition, the report noted that:
- About 27 million individuals in 2014 said they had been uninsured for more than a year;
- About 6.8 million individuals gained coverage through the ACA's insurance exchanges between July 2014 and September 2014; and
- The number of uninsured adults between ages 18 and 64 dropped from nearly 40 million in 2013 to 32.6 million in the first nine months of 2014 (Alonso-Zaldivar, AP/U-T San Diego, 3/24).
GAO: Subsides Likely Contributed to Coverage Expansion
In related news, federal subsidies that helped offset individuals' premiums likely helped drive the expansion of health coverage, according to a Government Accountability Office report, Reuters reports (Cornwell, Reuters, 3/23).
For the report, GAO analyzed various studies on insurance rates and interviewed experts from 11 research groups and HHS (Bettelheim, CQ HealthBeat, 3/23).
The report comes as the legality of subsidies for residents in states that use the federal exchange is being challenged in the Supreme Court (Reuters, 3/23).
The report found that subsidies expanded coverage among uninsured U.S. residents by as much as 5% in 2014. In addition, the study found that the subsidies reduced premiums by 76% between 2013 and 2014 (CQ HealthBeat, 3/23).
GAO also found that about 16% of nonelderly adults still are uninsured, noting that many will not face penalties under the ACA's individual mandate because they are either undocumented immigrants or their incomes fall below the threshold (Ferris, The Hill, 3/23).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.