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Uninsured Rate Plummets Under Obamacare

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NEW YORK  — The number of Americans lacking health insurance has plummeted this year, a trio of surveys released Thursday found.

The reports — conducted by three major research organizations — aim to measure the early effect of Obamacare’s individual mandate. Most Americans were required to obtain health insurance starting this year.

Here were the results:

— Urban Institute: The uninsured rate fell to 13.9% in June, down from 17.4% at the end of last year. Some 8 million adults gained coverage.

— Gallup: Americans lacking health coverage fell to 13.4% in the second quarter, down from 17.1% at the close of 2013. This is the lowest quarterly rate recorded since Gallup and Healthways began tracking the share of uninsured Americans in 2008.

— Commonwealth Fund: Only 15% of American adults were uninsured in the second quarter, down from 20% in the third quarter of last year. About 9.5 million fewer adults were uninsured, led mainly by young adults age 19 to 34, who saw their uninsured rate drop to 18%, from 28%.

While the results vary, these new reports add weight to the view that the Obamacare exchanges are fulfilling health reform’s prime directive: reducing the number of uninsured Americans. The first official government figures will be released later this year, while the Census Bureau’s report on 2014 uninsured rates won’t come out until the following fall.

Some 8 million people signed up for coverage during Obamacare’s first open enrollment period, which ended March 31. It’s not known how many of these folks were previously uninsured. Another 6 million low-income Americans were added to the Medicaid rolls.

The Commonwealth Fund’s survey also dug deeper into who obtained insurance and what they did with their new coverage. It found that people with low and moderate incomes, many of whom were eligible for government subsidies, and Latinos saw large drops in their uninsured ranks.

Poor people in the 25 states and the District of Columbia that opted to expand Medicaid coverage by April saw their uninsured rates decline to 17%, from 28%. But in the states that didn’t expand, the rate remained essentially unchanged at 36%.

Some 6 in 10 people who obtained policies on the exchanges or signed up for Medicaid reported they had visited a doctor, went to the hospital or filled a prescription. Some 62% said they couldn’t have accessed or afforded this care previously.


  • William Denison

    All of the energy, time and money used by republicans to shoot the ACA down could went into something that would of made this nation stronger and a better place to live. Instead we as a nation took two backs. There is no turning back now. I don’t think I’d want 20,000,000+ angry people knocking on my door. But maybe republicans do. You repubs better be careful what you wish for.

  • Retired MD

    True William. But, if you parse the numbers carefully from the actual studies, a fair number went onto state funded Medicaid programs, not private insurance coverage.
    Problem with state funded Medicaid is two-fold…….
    1. This is paid for on the backs of taxpayers who were previously funding a Medicaid system that is going broke.
    2. Just because they now have their Medicaid card does not mean that they will receive care. Because medicaid is going broke, the only mechanism to keep it afloat is continually decrease reimbursement to doctors and hospital to insultingly low levels.( I know as I am retired physician) Therefore, due to low rates, good luck finding a dentist, oral surgeon or experienced physician who will accept medicaid. They end up in ER for sore throat running up huge bills.
    My income the prior year was over $150,000 William in retirement. I am not yet 65 to get medicare. But, because most of my income federal tax free and some state tax free, I received significant help from federal government to purchase my private insurance on the exchange. So William, I thank you and your fellow liberals for pushing this through.

    • mysttryst

      @ Retired md What exactly is “insultingly low reimbursements” ? You mean you won’t be able to buy your 3rd Mcmansion or 4th vacation home in Hawaii or a new vehicle for very member of the family yearly. It’s GREEDY DOCTORS that have been and are the problem in healthcare and everybody knows it!

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