ObamaCare Record Low Uninsured

The Uninsured Rate For All Adults From First Quarter 2016 – How to Understand the Data

The uninsured rate dropped to a record low during the first 3 months of 2016 at only 8.6% for all Americans, that is 1.3 million fewer than 2015 (9.2%), and 21.3 million fewer than 2010 (15.7%).

While the amount enrolled because of the exchanges hasn’t changed much (many enrolled in plans, but plan drops and plan switches meant no significant net increase) the amount enrolled via Medicaid/CHIP and other methods accounts for a net total bump (the bump would be higher if it weren’t’ for states rejecting Medicaid expansion).

It is important to note that this number includes the 18–64 demographic, which have an uninsured rate of 11.9%, 0–17 years with a rate of 5.0%, and [as far as I can tell from the data] plus 65 who have a near 100% uninsured rate (but not 100% as some seniors don’t have health insurance; those citizens for less than 5 years for instance).

While it isn’t a big change for exchange eligible adults, it is a significant change (1.3 million) when considering kids and adults of all coverage types, and when compared to other like-studies that use census data (rather than other studies done during the year, like a 2015 Gallup one that showed a slightly more favorable uninsured rate for adults).

Gallup polls had been showing a rate of 11.4% for 18-64 for 2015, but the last Census-backed study (A 2015 study by the CDC using Census data) showed the total uninsured rate as 9.2% and the uninsured rate for the 18 – 64 demographic as 13% for 2015.

Thus, when we compare like-study to like-study we see some real improvement, but if we just compare it to any study published in the last year, the results can look underwhelming (but they aren’t).

You can learn more about the uninsured rates or enrollment rates, or checkout the highlights from the study (read the study in full: Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, January–March 2016):

  • In the first 3 months of 2016, 27.3 million (8.6%) persons of all ages were uninsured at the time of interview—1.3 million fewer persons than in 2015 and 21.3 million fewer persons than in 2010.
  • In the first 3 months of 2016, among adults aged 18–64, 11.9% were uninsured at the time of interview, 19.5% had public coverage, and 70.2% had private health insurance coverage.
  • In the first 3 months of 2016, among children aged 0–17 years, 5.0% were uninsured, 42.1% had public coverage, and 54.9% had private coverage.
  • Among adults aged 18–64, the 12-month increase in the percentage with private coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace or state-based exchanges—from 4.4% (8.6 million) in the first quarter of 2015 to 4.7% (9.2 million) in the first quarter of 2016—was not statistically significant.
  • The percentage of persons under age 65 with private insurance enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) increased, from 25.3% in 2010 and 36.7% in 2015 to 40.0% in the first 3 months of 2016.

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