Significant decline in uninsured rate across age groups since the end of 2013
The uninsured rate has decreased sharply since the Affordable Care Act’s requirement for most Americans to have health insurance went into effect at the beginning of 2014. In fact, the uninsured rate has dropped by 3.7 points since the fourth quarter of 2013, when it averaged 17.1%.
The decline in the uninsured rate last quarter took place at the start of the quarter. The drop reflected a surge of health plan enrollees in early April, prior to the April 15 extended enrollment deadline for people who had previously experienced technical difficulties with the federal healthcare exchange website. In April and May, the uninsured rate hovered at 13.4%, and it remained at that level in June — clearly indicating that the decline seen since late 2013 has leveled off.
The second-quarter results are based on more than 45,000 interviews with U.S. adults from April 1 to June 30, 2014, as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.
Uninsured Rate Continues to Drop Across Age Groups
Gallup’s quarterly trends show that the uninsured rate dropped by about three points from the fourth quarter of 2013 among each major age group under 65. The uninsured rate in the second quarter averaged 18.7% among 18- to 25-year-olds, 23.9% among 26- to 34-year-olds, and 13.4% among 35- to 64-year-olds.
Given the availability of Medicare and Medicaid benefits, very few seniors report being without health insurance, although the uninsured rate among those 65 and older is now 2.0%, down from 2.8% in the third quarter of 2013.
More 18- to 64-Year-Olds Have Self-Funded Insurance Now Than in 2013
While 18- to 64-year-olds are most likely to have health insurance through a current or former employer (43.5%), more reported having self-funded insurance coverage in the second quarter than did before the healthcare exchanges opened in October 2013. For Americans younger than 65, 20.7% say they have a health insurance plan they or a family member pays for, compared with 16.7% in August-September 2013.
There has also been a slight increase in the percentage who have Medicaid insurance, perhaps because a provision of the 2010 healthcare law expanded the qualifying income levels for Medicaid. Thus, the reduction in the percentage of uninsured Americans has been accompanied by increases in the percentages who now have Medicaid or self-funded insurance, through a government exchange or on their own.
Conclusion from pubhealth.tumblr.com: Obamacare, the ACA, has been a resounding policy success. Let’s spread the word.