U.S. Adult Uninsured Rate Falls to 15.9%, Gallup Poll Finds
The national adult uninsured rate now stands at 15.9%, and the rate is on track to drop to its lowest since 2008, according to a Gallup poll released Monday and the polling firm's analysts, the AP/Washington Times reports (Alonso-Zaldivar, AP/Washington Times, 3/10).
The poll of more than 28,000 adults -- which was conducted between Jan. 2 and Feb. 28 -- is one of the largest surveys on the issue and provides a more precise measurement than most other polls, the Los Angeles Times' "Politics Now" reports (Lauter, "Politics Now," Los Angeles Times, 3/10).
According to the poll, the percentage of uninsured residents declined 1.2 percentage points from December 2013, which translates into about three million fewer uninsured people (AP/Washington Times, 3/10).
While Gallup analysts could not definitively tie the decline in the uninsured rate to the Affordable Care Act, the Times notes that details from the poll show that the decline began during the last three months of 2013, when the ACA's insurance exchanges launched and many residents were able to purchase coverage ("Politics Now," Los Angeles Times, 3/10).
Frank Newport, editor-in-chief at Gallup, said that it is "probably a reasonable hypothesis that the [ACA] is having something to do with this drop," adding, "We saw a continuation of the trend we saw last month; it didn't bounce back" (AP/Washington Times, 3/10).
A similar poll released in mid-February found that the adult uninsured rate stood at 16%. At the time, Gallup noted that it was not yet clear whether the ACA -- which was enacted in 2010 -- was responsible for the decline. Pollsters noted that previous surveys showed drops in uninsured rates followed by increases.
For example, the uninsured rate in 2011 had dropped to 16.1%, before increasing to a peak of 18% in mid-2013. They added that the effect of the ACA on uninsured rates might not be evident for several more months (California Healthline, 2/13).
Meanwhile, the latest poll found that the greatest drop -- 2.8 percentage points -- in uninsured rates was among households with annual incomes below $36,000.
The poll also showed that insurance enrollment rates in the Latino community -- a demographic that the Obama administration is targeting in the final weeks of the open enrollment period for the insurance exchanges -- falls behind black and non-Latino white communities ("Politics Now," Los Angeles Times, 3/10).
The uninsured rate decreased by 2.6 percentage points among blacks and by one percentage point among whites, while dropping by only 0.8 percentage points among Latinos (AP/Washington Times, 3/10).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.