Photo (cc) by Christiaan Triebert
The first open enrollment for individual health insurance through the Affordable Care Act ended in April. It appears it had the impact proponents of Obamacare were hoping for.
After peaking at 18 percent in 2013, the uninsured rate among U.S. adults has held steady at 13.4 percent since April, a new poll shows. It’s the lowest it’s been since 2008, when Gallup started tracking this.
The uninsured rate decreased more among blacks than it did in other major demographic groups, falling 6.2 percentage points to 14.7 percent.
The uninsured rate among Hispanics was down 5.6 percentage points since the end of 2013, down to 33.1 percent.
Young adults continue to shy away from health coverage. According to Gallup, about 23.9 percent of 26- to 34-year-olds lack insurance.
Younger adults, who tend to be healthier and whose participation in the health insurance system is important to help keep costs down, are another key group targeted by outreach efforts. Those aged 26 to 34 years, however, continue to have the highest uninsured rate among all age groups.
The Huffington Post noted a significant drop in the uninsured rate for households earning less than $36,000 per year. “That percentage fell to 24.7 percent, down six points from the end of 2013 — but still much higher than the national rate,” HuffPo said.
Gallup also notes that studies have shown that most newly insured Americans have paid their insurance premiums thus far. With the uninsured rates leveling off for now, Gallup said:
It remains to be seen if the uninsured rate will stay at this level, increase, or decrease between now and mid-November, when the next open enrollment begins. The rate could drop if more states elect to expand Medicaid. Gallup research shows that the uninsured rate, on average, has dropped more in states that have elected to expand Medicaid and run their own health care exchanges than in states that have not.
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