ACA gains: Uninsured rate reaches new low

Dive Brief:

  • The uninsured rate continued to drop in 2016, reaching an all-time low of 8.8%, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

  • There were 28.2 million people without insurance in 2016, 20.4 million fewer than in 2010 and around 400,000 fewer than in 2015, although the year-to-year difference was non-significant.

  • In states that expanded Medicaid the uninsured rate dropped by almost one-half over the past three years, from 18.4% to 9.8%.

Dive Insight:

There is something about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that critics cannot deny. By establishing insurance exchanges, subsidizing the cost of premiums, and expanding Medicaid, the ACA has helped more than 20 million people gain health insurance. 

Most previously uninsured people who gained coverage did so through insurance exchanges and Medicaid expansion. Around 11 million people were covered by a health plan purchased through an insurance exchange. Medicaid expansion allowed more than 10 million previously ineligible patients to gain coverage.

CMS proposed a rule on Wednesday aimed at helping to stabilize the ACA individual and small group insurance markets. Some of its attributes include expanding pre-enrollment verification, providing more flexibility with offering coverage options, shortening the open enrollment period in the individual market for the 2018 plan year, among other changes.

Since the ACA was passed, Republicans have been able to blame woes with the healthcare system on Democrats. However, by this time next year, their fingerprints will be all over the 2010 health reform law. With more than 20 million people directly affected by any changes, there could be an expensive political price to pay.  

Filed Under: Health Law Policy & Regulation