Uninsured rate on the rise


The uninsured rate among Americans aged 19-64 years, which was 12.7% in early 2016, has climbed to 15.5%, according to a survey by the Commonwealth Fund.

Medicaid expansion has had a significant effect on that increase. The uninsured rate among working-age adults living in states that did not expand their Medicaid programs has gone from 16.1% in 2016 to 21.9% in 2018, while the rate in states that did expand Medicaid rose from 10.4% to 11.4% over that same time, Commonwealth Fund researchers said in reporting the results of their latest (Feb. 6, 2018, to March 30, 2018) Affordable Care Act Tracking Survey.

Tracking survey: Uninsured rate by Medicaid-expansion status
The situation was somewhat similar when looking at income: For adults living in households with earnings less than 250% of the federal poverty level (about $30,000 for an individual and $61,000 for a family of four), the uninsured rate rose from 20.9% in 2016 to 25.7% in 2018. Those with incomes above 250% of the poverty line have seen the uninsured rate increase from 4.4% in 2016 to 6.2% in 2017 and then decrease to 5.8% in 2018, they said.

A similar increase/decrease since 2016 was experienced by respondents who identified as Democrats: The rate for the group went from 9.9% in 2016 to 10.4% in 2017 and then dropped to 9.1% in 2018. Those identifying as Republicans started with a lower rate of 7.9% in 2016 but have since seen it rise to 9.9% in 2017 and 13.9% in 2018, results from the survey of 2,403 adults showed.

“In the absence of bipartisan support for federal action [on the ACA], legislative activity has shifted to the states. Eight states have received, or are currently applying for, federal approval to establish reinsurance programs in their states,” the investigators wrote, but “leaving policy innovation to states will ultimately lead to a patchwork quilt of coverage and access to health care across the country, a dynamic that will fuel inequity in overall health, productivity, and well-being.”

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