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20.5 Million More Insured Since Start of Affordable Care Act

Since the start of the Affordable Care Act, 20.5 million more individuals have gained health insurance coverage.

20 million more individuals gained healthcare coverage

Source: Thinkstock

By Thomas Beaton

- 20.5 million more individuals have gained health insurance coverage since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, according to a new report from the CDC and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

In the first three months of 2017, the percentage of persons of all ages who were uninsured at the time of the report was 8.8 percent (28.1 million). The data suggests there has been a mild drop in the 2016 uninsured rate of 9.0 percent (28.6 million).

However, the report does highlight a significant change from the 2010 uninsured population where 16 percent of the population, or 48.6 million people, lacked coverage. After reviewing data gathered through a national health survey, NCHS found the following trends in insurance coverage growth from 2016 through the first quarter of 2017.

  • 12.1 percent of adults aged 18 to 64 were uninsured, 18.9 percent had public coverage, and 70.5 percent had private health insurance coverage
  • 5.3 percent of children up to age 17 were uninsured, 42.3 percent had public coverage, and 54.1 percent had private health insurance coverage
  • 9.4 million adults, or 4.8 percent, were covered by private insurance plans obtained through the federal or state health insurance exchanges
  • The percentage of individuals under age 65 with private health insurance enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) increased from 39.4 percent in 2016 to 42.3 percent

The report also highlighted the role of Medicaid expansion in decreasing the number of uninsured.

In Medicaid expansion states, the percentage of uninsured adults decreased from 18.4 percent in 2013 to 8.6 percent in the opening months of 2017. While non-expansion states also decreased the number of uninsured individuals, they had a higher percentage of uninsured individuals compared to expansion states and had mild increases in their uninsured populations in 2017.

In non-expansion states, the percentage of uninsured adults decreased from 22.7 percent in 2013 to 17.5 percent in 2015. Non-expansion states also observed an increase in the percentage of uninsured adults from 17.5 percent in 2015 to 18.4 percent in the first three months of 2017.

States that had their own state-based insurance marketplace had lower uninsured rates than states utilizing the federally facilitated marketplace, the NCHS found.

Adults in states using the federal marketplace were more likely to be uninsured than adults in states with a state-based marketplace, or states with a combination of other marketplaces, the report found.

Consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) and high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) helped to spark coverage growth in 2017. The percentage of consumers with a CDHP has jumped since 2010 from 7.7 percent to 16.9 percent at the beginning of 2017.

The percentage of those enrolled in an HDHP has also increased from 39.4 percent in 2016 to 42.3 percent in the first 3 months of 2017.

The NCHS report strongly suggests that the Affordable Care Act has helped to facilitate the growth of health insurance coverage since it was enacted in 2010.

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