U.S. Uninsured Rate Declined to 11.5% in 2014, CDC Survey Finds
The number of uninsured U.S. residents dropped by 8.8 million, or 2.9 percentage points, in 2014, reaching 11.5% of the U.S. population, according to federal data released Tuesday, the Huffington Post reports (Young, Huffington Post, 6/23).
The uninsured rates were measured for U.S. residents ages 18 to 65. According to the New York Times, the data included the first full year of coverage expansions that occurred under the Affordable Care Act (Tavernise, New York Times, 6/23).
According to CDC's National Health Interview survey, 36 million U.S. residents said they were uninsured on the day they were interviewed in 2014 (Huffington Post, 6/23).
Largest Gains Among Blacks
The survey found the largest decrease occurred among black U.S. residents, with the group's uninsured rate falling from 18.9% in 2013 to 13.5% last year. Significant declines also were seen among Hispanics, with the group's uninsured rate falling by almost 17% from 2013 to 25.2% in 2014. Meanwhile, the uninsured rate among white U.S. residents dropped from 12.1% in 2013 to 9.8% last year.
More Medicaid Expansion Participation Could Have Produced Greater Gains
Some experts noted insurance gains would have been even greater if more states had participated in the Medicaid expansion. Medicaid expansion states had uninsured rates of 10.9% in 2014, down from 14.9% in 2013, according to the survey. Meanwhile, states that did not expand their Medicaid programs saw their uninsured rate drop from 18.4% in 2013 to 16% last year.
According to the Times, many states that have not yet expanded their Medicaid programs have the largest shares of uninsured residents. In addition, such states have large proportions of low-income black residents.
Rate Decreases Most Among Lowest-Income Residents
Overall, the uninsured rate among low-income U.S. residents fell by seven percentage points, while the uninsured rate among lower middle-income U.S. residents fell by 7.6 percentage points. According to the survey, about 32% of low-income U.S. residents were uninsured in 2014, down from 39% in 2013. The survey noted the uninsured rate among lower middle-income residents also decreased, from 39% in 2013 to 31% last year. Meanwhile, the uninsured rate among higher-income U.S. residents declined by 2.5 percentage points.
Uninsured Rates by Region
Further, the survey found the highest uninsured rates were in the South, where 20.7% of individuals under age 65 are uninsured. According to the survey:
- The West had the second highest uninsured rate, at 16.3%;
- The Midwest followed, with an uninsured rate of 12.9%; and
- The Northeast had the lowest uninsured rate, at 11.2%.
Length of Time Being Uninsured
The survey also found the share of U.S. residents who had been uninsured for longer than one year fell from 12.4% in 2013 to 9.7% in 2014. In comparison, the share of U.S. residents who had been uninsured for part of the past year dropped by about one percentage point (New York Times, 6/23).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.