Number of Uninsured Americans Hits Record Low
Newly released data from Gallup shows that the number of Americans without health insurance is at a record low since the polling firm began tracking the statistic six years ago, confirming data released from the federal government in May showing massive enrollment during the Affordable Care Act’s rollout.
“The uninsured rate in the U.S. fell 2.2 percentage points to 13.4% in the second quarter of 2014,” Gallup said in a post on their website. “This is the lowest quarterly average recorded since Gallup and Healthways began tracking the percentage of uninsured Americans in 2008. The previous low point was 14.4% in the third quarter of 2008.”
The uninsured rate is down significantly since the beginning of 2014, dropping a total of 3.7 percentage points since Q4 2013. A number of factors contributed to the decline, including an improving economy and the Affordable Care Act’s insurance provisions.
The 2010 law extends health care coverage to millions of Americans through an expansion of Medicaid, private health insurance subsidies, and allowing children under the age of 26 to stay on their parents’ plans. Medicaid eligibility is based on income. Currently, a family of four can only make $33,000 a year to qualify for Medicaid. Several Republican-led states have declined to expand their program, despite the federal government covering 100 percent of the cost for the first several years and 90 percent of the cost after 2020.
Individuals who are not eligible for insurance through Medicaid, Medicare, or their workplace can receive tax subsidies to help purchase private insurance. (If you’re curious how much you would qualify for, check out Kaiser’s subsidy tool.)
The Obama administration announced that over 8 million Americans signed up for insurance through the ACA’s federal and state exchanges. An additional 4.8 million gained coverage through expanded Medicaid and CHIP programs, around 3 million are covered under their parents’ plans, and “recent estimates show that an additional 5 million people have purchased coverage outside of the Marketplace in Affordable Care Act-compliant plans,” according to Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Taken altogether, that puts the total number of “Obamacare” enrollees at over 20 million.