Number of Uninsured Drops by One-Third Since 2013, CDC Finds
The number of uninsured U.S. residents declined by about 16 million, or by about one-third, between 2013 and the first quarter of 2015, according to a CDC report released this week, the New York Times reports.
Report Details, Findings
For the report, researchers examined data from the National Health Interview Survey, which was collected through household interviews by the Census Bureau.
Among residents ages 18 to 64, the number of uninsured residents declined from 39.6 million in 2013 to 25.5 million in the first quarter of 2015. The number of uninsured children declined from 4.8 million to 3.4 million over the same period.
According to the report, the uninsured rate declined from 14.4% in 2013 to 9.2% as of the first quarter of 2015 (Pear, New York Times, 8/12). The report found the uninsured rate is 13% among adults and 4.6% among children.
Low-income residents experienced the largest declines in their uninsured rate (Ungar, USA Today, 8/12). Among low-income residents ages 18 to 64, the uninsured rate dropped from 39.3% in 2013 to about 28% as of the first quarter of 2015. Meanwhile, the uninsured rate among those with incomes between 101% and 200% of the federal poverty level fell from 38.5% to 23.8% over the same period.
Meanwhile, the uninsured rate among Hispanic residents ages 18 to 64 declined from 40.6% in 2013 to 28.3% as of the first quarter of 2015. Among other races, the rate of uninsured between 2013 and the first quarter of 2015 declined from:
- 24.9% to 15.6% among non-Hispanic black adults; and
- 14.5% to 8.7% among non-Hispanic white adults.
The proportion of uninsured declined more steeply in states that have expanded Medicaid than it did in states that have not, the Times reports. The percentage of uninsured U.S. residents ages 18 to 64 between 2013 and the first quarter of 2015 declined from:
- 18.4% to 10.6% in expansion states; and
- 22.7% to 16.8% in non-expansion states (New York Times, 8/12).
Reason for Decline
Lead report author Robin Cohen said the report "doesn't address any reasons" for the decrease in uninsured.
However, Kaiser Family Foundation Senior Researcher Rachel Garfield said, "Certainly, the biggest thing that's going on is the ACA." She added, "The reason we know that is that groups being targeted by the ACA are seeing the sharpest declines in uninsured rates" (USA Today, 8/12).
According to the Times, the decline in the uninsured rate is in line with the ACA's coverage expansions, as well as improvements in the economy (New York Times, 8/12).
Garfield acknowledged that the economy helped drive down the uninsured rates but said the ACA was a bigger factor (USA Today, 8/12).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.