Working-age adults find it easier to afford healthcare under the ACA
- Working-age adults, including the poor, find it easier to afford healthcare under the ACA, according to a new report from the Commonwealth Fund.
- States that expanded their Medicaid programs tended to show the largest decreases in uninsured rates.
- In 37 states, medical costs were less likely to be a deterrent to seeking care compared to previous years.
While removing parts of the ACA will be a priority for Congress when it reconvenes in January, the findings in the Commonwealth Fund's new report shows the promising results of the healthcare law.
Medical treatment has become more affordable and as many as 2.5 million Americans who pay for off-marketplace individual coverage would qualify for tax credits if they purchase ACA plans for the 2017 coverage year, according to HHS estimates released in October. In addition, a 2015 Commonwealth Fund survey concluded only 52% of uninsured adults were aware of the financial assistance they could receive through the ACA marketplaces.
Another major finding of the report is that for adults, uninsured rates dropped by at least 3% in 48 states, although some states showed greater improvement. States that expanded Medicaid eligibility saw the greatest improvements. These improvements were most pronounced for Hispanics, who had an uninsured rate of 22% in states with Medicaid expansions, compared to a 36% rate in states that did not expand their Medicaid programs. Similarly, black adults showed an uninsured rate of 11% in states that expanded Medicaid and 19% in states that did not.
“Six years after the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, the United States is closer than it has ever been to achieving near-universal coverage, an essential component of a high-performing health system,” the report states. It is widely acknowledged that repealing the ACA without replacing it would result in millions of Americans losing coverage. The Commonwealth Fund’s report suggests that reductions in Medicaid funding would also have a dramatic effect, especially among black and Hispanic families.