Health Insurance Coverage in the US

Progress reducing U.S. uninsured rate comes to a halt, By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar (AP), May 16, 2017, Seattle Times: “Five years of progress reducing the number of Americans without health insurance has come to a halt, according to a government report out Tuesday. More than a factoid, it shows the stakes in the Republican drive to roll back the Affordable Care Act. The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 28.6 million people were uninsured in 2016, unchanged from 2015. It was the first year since passage of the health care overhaul in 2010 that the number of uninsured did not budge…”

Health Insurance Coverage in the US

  • Uninsured rate for poor, childless adults declines, By Michael Ollove, April 10, 2017, Stateline: “As the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress explore ways of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, a new study shows how beneficial the law has been to poor adults who don’t have children.  The study by the Urban Institute found that between 2013 and 2015, the rate of poor, childless adults without health insurance fell by 47.1 percent…”
  • Maps show a dramatic rise in health insurance coverage under ACA, By Alyson Hurt, Juan Elosua and Rebecca Hersher, National Public Radio: “New data from the U.S. Census Bureau presents the most detailed picture yet of the dramatic rise in the number of people covered by health insurance since the Affordable Care Act went into effect. County-level data going back to 2010, when the law was signed, shows a patchwork of people living without health insurance that ticked down slowly for the first three years under the ACA. But, once the online insurance exchanges opened at the end of 2013 and Medicaid expanded, the population living without coverage dropped noticeably…”

Health Insurance Coverage

  • Obamacare led to similar drops in uninsured rate across all income groups, By Dan Mangan, September 29, 2016, CNBC: “A new report on the effects of health insurance expansion under Obamacare found that every income group ‘experienced significant and similar drops’ in the rate of uninsured people.  ‘The uninsured rate fell by around 40 percent for Americans in all income groups for 2010 through 2015, including individuals with incomes above 400 percent of the federal poverty level,’ the U.S. Health and Human Services Department said Thursday…”
  • 600,000 Veterans may go without health insurance next year: Report, By Maggie Fox, September 29, 2016, NBC News: “More than 600,000 veterans will go without health insurance next year unless 19 states stop holding out against expanding Medicaid, researchers said Wednesday.  Even with Medicaid expansion, hundreds of thousands of vets are going to go without a way to pay for medical care, the report from the left-leaning Urban Institute finds.  But 327,000 of those who will go without health insurance live in the 19 states — all with Republican governors — that have not expanded Medicaid, the researchers said…”

Health Insurance in the United States: 2015

  • Uninsurance rate drops to the lowest level since before the Great Recession, By Amy Goldstein, September 13, 2016, Washington Post: “About 4 million Americans gained health insurance last year, decreasing the nation’s uninsured rate to 9.1 percent, the lowest level since before the Great Recession, according to new federal figures.  The figures, released Tuesday from a large annual Census Bureau survey, show that the gains were driven primarily by an expansion of coverage among people buying individual policies, rather than getting health benefits through a job. This includes, but is not limited to, the kind of coverage sold on the insurance exchanges that began in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act…”
  • The striking difference between states that expanded Medicaid and the ones that didn’t, By Carolyn Y. Johnson, September 13, 2016, Washington Post: “The number of Americans without health insurance declined to 9.1 percent last year, according to federal data released Tuesday. A set of maps released by the Census Bureau suggests an obvious way to decrease the uninsured rate even more: expand Medicaid in the 19 states that haven’t…”

Health Insurance Coverage

  • The states with the biggest Obamacare struggles spent years undermining the law, By Noam N. Levy, September 7, 2016, Los Angeles Times: “As insurers exit Obamacare marketplaces across the country, critics of the Affordable Care Act have redoubled claims that the health law isn’t working.  Yet these same critics, many of them Republican politicians in red states, took steps over the last several years to undermine the 2010 law and fuel the current turmoil in their insurance markets…”
  • Obamacare pushes nation’s health uninsured rate to record low 8.6 percent, By Dan Mangan, September 7, 2016, CNBC: “Low enough for you yet?  The rate of Americans who lack health insurance has hit a record low — again — as a result of Obamacare.  In the first quarter of 2016, there were 8.6 percent of Americans — or about 27.3 million people — who were uninsured, the first time in history that the nation’s uninsured rate fell below 9 percent…”

Health Insurance Coverage – California

More Californians are insured in 2016, but many still worry about medical costs, By Soumya Karlamangla, August 18, 2016, Los Angeles Times: “Nearly three-quarters of Californians who didn’t have health coverage before the Affordable Care Act are now insured, yet many are still concerned about their medical expenses, according to a report released Thursday. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey tracking the state’s uninsured population found that 72% of those without insurance in 2013 had a health plan in 2016…”

Medicaid Expansion

Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion leading to health insurance boom in some states, By Dan Mangan, July 20, 2016, CNBC: “The U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld most of Obamacare also rejected the section of the Affordable Care Act that would have compelled states to expand eligibility in their Medicaid programs to nearly all poor adults.  That part of the ruling received far less public attention — but it’s that part that likely has had the biggest impact on states over the past four years…”

Children’s Health Insurance Coverage

More low-income kids now have health coverage, By Michelle Andrews, May 13, 2016, National Public Radio: “Bolstered by the federal health care law, the number of lower-income kids getting health coverage continues to rise.  During 2014, the first full year of the law’s implementation, 91 percent of children who were eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program were enrolled, according to a study by researchers at the Urban Institute. In 2013, that figure was 88.7 percent and only 81.7 percent in 2008. Medicaid and CHIP are both federal-state health coverage programs for lower-income residents, but CHIP provides coverage for kids whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid…”

Insurance Coverage under the ACA

  • Immigrants, the poor and minorities gain sharply under Affordable Care Act, By Sabrina Tavernise and Robert Gebeloff, April 17, 2016, New York Times: “The first full year of the Affordable Care Act brought historic increases in coverage for low-wage workers and others who have long been left out of the health care system, a New York Times analysis has found. Immigrants of all backgrounds — including more than a million legal residents who are not citizens — had the sharpest rise in coverage rates.  Hispanics, a coveted group of voters this election year, accounted for nearly a third of the increase in adults with insurance. That was the single largest share of any racial or ethnic group, far greater than their 17 percent share of the population. Low-wage workers, who did not have enough clout in the labor market to demand insurance, saw sharp increases. Coverage rates jumped for cooks, dishwashers, waiters, as well as for hairdressers and cashiers. Minorities, who disproportionately worked in low-wage jobs, had large gains…”
  • Obamacare seems to be reducing people’s medical debt, By Margot Sanger-Katz, April 20, 2016, New York Times: “Even if you lack health insurance, you’ll probably be able to get treatment at a hospital in the event of a catastrophe — if you’re struck by a car, say. But having insurance can mean the difference between financial security and financial ruin. A new study is showing that, by giving health insurance to low-income people, Obamacare seems to have cut down on their debt substantially. It estimates that medical debt held by people newly covered by Medicaid since 2014 has been reduced by about $600 to $1,000 each year…”
  • Obamacare expanding coverage for the poor, study finds, By Karen Pallarito, April 20, 2016, Philadelphia Inquirer: “State Medicaid expansions under Obamacare have improved low-income Americans’ insurance coverage, increased their doctor visits and enhanced detection of chronic health conditions, which could lead to improvements in health, a new study suggests. The findings are important as policymakers continue to debate the value of expanding Medicaid, the publicly funded health insurance program for the poor, researchers said…”

ACA and Free Health Clinics

While more Americans are insured, free clinics still providing a safety net, By Kate Giammarise, March 28, 2016, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “The Affordable Care Act and expansion of Medicaid have brought health insurance to millions of previously uninsured Americans. But it’s still mostly business as usual at the Birmingham Free Clinic on Pittsburgh’s South Side, where about 90 percent of patients lack health insurance. The remaining 10 percent of patients at the clinic, located in a Salvation Army building off Carson Street, tend to bounce off and on Medicaid, clinical director Mary Herbert estimated…”

Health Insurance Coverage

Gov’t report: Illinois among 8 states with significant drop in uninsured, Associated Press, February 9, 2016, Chicago Tribune: “Eight states saw a significant drop last year in the number of residents going without health insurance, according to a government report out Tuesday that has implications for the presidential campaign.  All but Florida had accepted a Medicaid expansion that is one of two major pathways to coverage under President Barack Obama’s health care law. The law’s other coverage route is subsidized private insurance, available in all 50 states…”

Health Insurance in the United States: 2014

  • Proportion of Americans without health insurance dropped in 2014, By Amy Goldstein, Scott Clement and Jeff Guo, September 17, 2015, Washington Post: “The proportion of Americans who lack health insurance fell markedly last year, according to new federal figures that provide the strongest evidence to date of how the Affordable Care Act is driving changes in health coverage across the country…”
  • Poverty persists but more have healthcare, By Don Lee, September 16, 2015, Los Angeles Times: “A steadily growing job market and higher minimum-wage laws in pockets of the country failed to reduce the nation’s poverty rate last year or reverse the long-running trend of stagnating incomes for most American households…”
  • Census: Health coverage expands in 2014; poverty, wages stagnate, By Tony Pugh, September 16, 2015, Sacramento Bee: “The share of Americans without health insurance fell to 10.4 percent in 2014 as nearly 9 million people gained health coverage, according to government figures released Wednesday. Thirty-three million Americans lacked health insurance in 2014, down from 41.8 million, or 13.3 percent, in 2013, the annual Census Bureau survey found…”
  • Census report: Levels of uninsured fell dramatically in U.S., Wisconsin, By Guy Boulton, Bill Glauber and Kevin Crowe, September 16, 2015, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “An estimated 8.5 million people nationwide, including 100,000 in Wisconsin, gained health insurance coverage in 2014, the first year that key provisions of the Affordable Care Act went into effect, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The estimates released Wednesday show a historic drop in the uninsured rate to 11.7% nationally and to 7.3% in Wisconsin…”

Health Insurance Coverage in the US

Fewer poor uninsured after health law, study finds, By Sabrina Tavernise, June 23, 2015, New York Times: “The share of poor Americans who were uninsured declined substantially in 2014, according to the first full year of federal data since the Affordable Care Act extended coverage to millions of Americans last year. The drop was largely in line with earlier findings by private polling companies such as Gallup, but was significant because of its source — the National Health Interview Survey, a long-running federal survey considered to be a gold standard by researchers. The findings are being released on Tuesday…”

Immigrants and Health Insurance Coverage – California

For those in California illegally, health services vary greatly by county, By Soumya Karlamangla, June 11, 2015, Los Angeles Times: “Margarita Vasquez lacked health insurance and couldn’t afford an eye operation to ward off blindness. But under a Los Angeles County program that extends healthcare services to poor residents who are in the country illegally, the 64-year-old underwent surgery earlier this year and can now see clearly. ‘It saved me,’ she said. An hour’s drive to the east, in the flatlands of the Inland Empire, Sujey Becerra wasn’t as fortunate…”

Children’s Health Insurance Coverage

  • Children’s health program faces cloudy future under ACA, By Christine Vestal, December 4, 2014, Stateline: “The Children’s Health Insurance Program got a big boost under the Affordable Care Act, which called for an increase in federal funding for the program and required states to maintain 2010 enrollment levels through 2019. But in the waning days of the lame-duck Congress, it is still not clear when or whether funding for the federal-state, low-income children’s health plan known as CHIP will be authorized beyond Sept. 30, when it is set to expire…”
  • Reports: Fewer uninsured children in Florida, but challenges ahead for public program, By Daniel Chang, December 4, 2014, Miami Herald: “In Florida, as in the rest of the nation, the number of children without healthcare coverage has declined during the last five years — but the Sunshine State still has one of the country’s highest rates of uninsured children, a challenge that could be met or missed depending on policy decisions on the state and federal levels, according to a brief published this week by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. While the number of uninsured children aged 18 and younger in the state has decreased from about 668,000 in 2008 to 445,000 in 2013, according to the report, Florida has the highest rate in the South and fifth highest in the nation…”

Medicaid Expansion and the Uninsured

Report: Medicaid expansion reduces uninsured patients, By Jesse Balmert, October 23, 2014, Marion Star: “With more people insured by Medicaid, several hospitals are treating fewer uninsured patients and paying less for charity care, according to a Policy Matters Ohio report released Tuesday. That’s good news for Ohio’s poor — especially those without children — and Gov. John Kasich, who spent Monday explaining to reporters that he supported Medicaid expansion while opposing the larger law it’s attached to — the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare…”

Health Insurance Coverage

  • For those who make too much — and too little — for health insurance, the options are limited, By Jordan Shapiro, October 9, 2014, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “Beverly Jones, a 51-year-old St. Louisan with custody of her three grandchildren, is supposed to get her blood tested every few months to make sure the medicine she takes daily isn’t harming her kidneys. But she can only afford to make the trip to the doctor two times a year because she lacks health insurance. ‘It’s hard for me to accept that I put in so much work and so much time and now that I get sick there is no one that can help me,’ she said. ‘That doesn’t seem fair to me.’ Jones isn’t alone. She is one of nearly 300,000 Missourians who would qualify for government-funded health insurance if they lived across the Mississippi River in Illinois or in 26 other states that have decided to expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act. But because Missouri hasn’t agreed to expand its program, Jones said she is forced to go without her blood tests and some of her prescriptions…”
  • Medicaid, often criticized, is quite popular with its customers, By Margot Sanger-Katz, October 9, 2014, New York Times: “Low-income people in three Southern states were recently asked whether they preferred Medicaid or private insurance. Guess which one they picked? A study published in the journal Health Affairs found that poor residents of Arkansas, Kentucky and Texas, when asked to compare Medicaid with private coverage, said that Medicaid offered better ‘quality of health care’ and made them better able to ‘afford the health care’ they needed. Medicaid, the federal-state program for poor and disabled Americans, is a frequent political target, often described as substandard because of its restricted list of doctors and the red tape — sometimes even worse than no insurance at all. But repeated surveys show that the program is quite popular among the people who use it…”
  • A quarter of Latinos are uninsured, By Teresa Wiltz, October 10, 2014, Stateline: “In the ‘sala de espera,’ or waiting room, at La Clinica del Pueblo, a community health center in Washington, D.C., signs in Spanish encourage patients to ‘Empower yourself!’ and sign up for insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act. Adults slump in chairs, scribbling on application forms, texting friends, waiting. In a tiny office a few feet away, William Joachin, the center’s patient access manager, faces down the frustrations of trying to navigate the federal health care program for the thousands of mostly Central American immigrants who flood the clinic each year. He’s not alone. A year after open enrollment for the ACA began, one in four Latinos living in the U.S. does not have health insurance, according to new census data, more than any other ethnic population in the country—and most states have few backups in place to help those in the coverage gap…”

Health Insurance Coverage in the US

  • 42 million people lacked health insurance in 2013, Census Bureau says, By Guy Boulton, September 16, 2014, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “An estimated 42 million people, or 13.4% of the population, were without health insurance coverage for all of 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The percentage was much higher for adults between 19 and 64 years old, with 18.5%, or almost one in five, uninsured last year. The estimates released Tuesday by the Census Bureau will become the baseline to track changes in the number of people who gain health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act. The parts of the law that will expand insurance coverage did not kick in until this year and are not reflected in the 2013 data…”
  • Number of Americans without health insurance falls, survey shows, By Sabrina Tavernise, September 16, 2014, New York Times: “Federal researchers reported on Tuesday that the number of Americans without health insurance had declined substantially in the first quarter of this year, the first federal measure of the number of uninsured Americans since the Affordable Care Act extended coverage to millions of people in January. The number of uninsured Americans fell by about 8 percent to 41 million people in the first quarter of this year, compared with 2013, a drop that represented about 3.8 million people and that roughly matched what experts were expecting based on polling by private groups, like Gallup. The survey also measured physical health but found little evidence of change…”

ACA and Health Insurance Coverage

  • Number of Americans without health insurance reaches new low, By Noam N. Levey, April 7, 2014, Los Angeles Times: “The share of Americans without health insurance has dropped to the lowest level since before President Obama took office, according to a new national survey that provides more evidence the healthcare law is extending coverage to millions of the previously uninsured. Just 14.7% of adults lacked coverage in the second half of March, down from 18% in the last quarter of 2013, the survey from Gallup found. The survey results, which track with other recent polling data and enrollment reports, indicate that about 8 million people have gained health insurance since September. That figure takes into account any losses in coverage the law may have brought about by the cancellation of health plans that did not meet the new standards…”
  • Nearly 4 million seriously mentally ill still without insurance, By Michael Ollove, April 8, 2014, Stateline: “Some might consider Kelly Troyer of South Carolina lucky. She isn’t one of them. Thanks to the generosity of her church and family members, she receives some treatment for the depression and post-traumatic stress disorder she suffers as a result of the sexual assault she endured in 2012. But Troyer, 45, said her lack of health insurance and other uncovered medical costs, including a hospitalization and all her medications, has forced her into personal bankruptcy. She lives in one of the 24 states that chose not to expand their Medicaid programs, offered under the Affordable Care Act. Those decisions have left about 3.7 million Americans with serious mental illness, psychological distress or a substance abuse disorder without health insurance, according to a recent report from the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA), a group that represents mental health professionals…”
  • More in Denver signed up for Medicaid than for private insurance, By Arthur Kane, April 10, 2014, Denver Post: “In Denver, 2½ times as many people enrolled in the taxpayer-funded Medicaid program from October through the first quarter of 2014 as those who signed up for private insurance through the state exchange, state figures show. And in Colorado and nationwide, Medicaid enrollments outpace private insurance registrants. Colorado ranked 11th in the nation of states with the highest percentage of Medicaid enrollments compared with private insurance subscribers through marketplaces as of the end of February, a Denver Post analysis of federal numbers shows…”
  • Medicaid enrollment rises 8 percent in Florida, By Kelli Kennedy (AP), April 11, 2014, Florida Today: “Florida’s Republican lawmakers remain staunchly opposed to expanding Medicaid — a system they’ve repeatedly said is too expensive and doesn’t improve health outcomes. Yet Florida’s Medicaid rolls are expanding under the Affordable Care Act. That’s because people trying to sign up for health insurance under President Barack Obama’s new health law are finding out — to their surprise — that they qualify for Medicaid, the federal health insurance program for the poor…”

Affordable Care Act and Health Insurance Enrollment

  • Little-known health act fact: Prison inmates are signing up, By Erica Goode, March 9, 2014, New York Times: “In a little-noticed outcome of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, jails and prisons around the country are beginning to sign up inmates for health insurance under the law, taking advantage of the expansion of Medicaid that allows states to extend coverage to single and childless adults — a major part of the prison population. State and counties are enrolling inmates for two main reasons. Although Medicaid does not cover standard health care for inmates, it can pay for their hospital stays beyond 24 hours — meaning states can transfer millions of dollars of obligations to the federal government…”
  • Health care law survey: Uninsured rate continues to drop, By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar (AP), March 10, 2014, Dallas Morning News: “The share of Americans without health insurance is dropping to the lowest levels since President Barack Obama took office, but sign-ups under his health care law lag among Hispanics — a big pool of potential beneficiaries. With just three weeks left to enroll on the new insurance exchanges, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, finds that 15.9 percent of U.S. adults are uninsured thus far in 2014, down from 17.1 percent for the last three months — or calendar quarter — of 2013…”