Study: About 17M Newly Insured Since ACA Coverage Expansions
About 17 million U.S. residents have gained health insurance since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion and insurance exchanges, according to a RAND study released Wednesday, Modern Healthcare reports (Demko, Modern Healthcare, 5/6).
From September 2013 to February 2015, 22.8 million residents became newly insured, while 5.9 million residents lost coverage, resulting in a net increase of 16.9 million, according to the study (Sullivan, The Hill, 5/6).
Overall, the researchers estimated that total number of uninsured U.S. residents decreased from 42.7 million to 25.8 million during that time period.
Further, the study found that over the first two ACA enrollment periods:
- 11.2 million U.S. residents signed up for private insurance through a federal or state-run exchange; and
- 9.6 million were newly enrolled in Medicaid (Modern Healthcare, 5/6).
Of those signing up through ACA exchanges 37%, or 4.1 million people, previously did not have coverage. Meanwhile, 52%, or 6.5 million people, of those enrolling in Medicaid had been uninsured (The Hill, 5/6).
Most Keeping Their Coverage
The study also found that 80% of insured U.S. residents reported the same source of coverage in September 2013 and February 2015. "The ACA has greatly expanded health insurance coverage in the United States with little change in the source of coverage for those who were insured before the major provisions of the law took effect," the researchers wrote (Levey, Los Angeles Times, 5/6).
Study Quiets Concern Over Canceled Coverage
Despite concern about coverage cancellations as a result of the ACA, the researchers noted that the number of residents losing coverage is at about the same level as it was prior to the law. The researchers wrote, "We found that the vast majority of those with individual market insurance in 2013 remained insured in 2015, which suggests that even among those who had their individual market policies canceled, most found coverage through an alternative source."
However, about 600,000 U.S. residents who had individual market coverage at the survey's outset lost that coverage as of February 2015 (The Hill, 5/6).
Increase in Employer Coverage
In addition, the study found that eight million more U.S. adults enrolled in employer-sponsored coverage over the course of the study. Further, about half of individuals newly insured through an employer plan were eligible in 2013 but had declined to enroll, according to study lead author and RAND economist Katherine Carman (Los Angeles Times, 5/6). She said, "We don't see any evidence that fewer people have access to insurance through their employer." According to Modern Healthcare, the increase could be the result of mandates that require employers to offer coverage and individuals to be insured (Modern Healthcare, 5/6).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.