Study: 10.3M U.S. Residents Have Gained Coverage Since Fall 2013
About 10.3 million U.S. residents have gained health coverage since the fall 2013 launch of the initial open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act's insurance exchanges, according to a study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, Reuters reports.
For the study, researchers from Brigham & Women's Hospital, the Harvard School of Public Health and the federal government analyzed Census data, national survey results and government enrollment data (Morgan, Reuters, 7/23). They studied data from Jan. 1, 2012, through June 30, 2014 (Sommers et al., NEJM, 7/23).
Researchers found that the uninsured rate among adults under age 65 fell by 5.2 percentage points, with the largest declines coming among blacks, Latinos and young adults (Winfield Cunningham, Politico, 7/23).
The study also found that the uninsured rate for individuals with incomes below 138% of the federal poverty level declined by six percentage points in states that expanded their Medicaid program under the ACA, while the uninsured rate for the same population declined by a "nonsignificant" 3.1 percentage points in states that did not expand Medicaid (NEJM, 7/23).
HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell in a statement said, "This study also reaffirms that expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act is important for coverage, as well as a good deal for states" (Demko, Modern Healthcare, 7/23).
The researchers also found that the likelihood of U.S. residents having a personal physician increased by 2.2 percentage points. Further, the number of adults who said they could not afford medical care declined by 2.7 percentage points (NEJM, 7/23).
The study authors said their data were not sufficient to demonstrate a causal relationship between the ACA and the uninsured rate, but rather showed "suggestive associations" (Reuters, 7/23). In addition, they noted that the number of individuals who gained coverage under the ACA could range from 7.3 million to 17.2 million U.S. residents depending on the models and confidence intervals used to interpret the data (CQ Roll Call, 7/23).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.