Commonwealth Fund Issue Brief: Percentage of Uninsured Falls to 15%

An issue brief from The Commonwealth Fund reports that the percentage of uninsured Americans has fallen from 20% to 15%, with 9.5 million adult Americans obtaining health insurance coverage in the past nine months since the first open enrollment period began for the health insurance marketplaces established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). 5.7 million of the newly insured are young adults ages 19-34, with their percentage of uninsured falling from 28% to 18%.

The issue brief also highlights the importance of expanding Medicaid eligibility under the ACA: in the 25 states and District of Columbia that have implemented expanded Medicaid, the percentage of uninsured fell from 28% to 17%, but in the states that did not implement expanded Medicaid, there essentially was no change in the percentage of uninsured, from 38% to 36% uninsured.

The issue brief also provides some initial data about actual utilization of health insurance coverage by the newly insured. Sixty percent of the newly insured had used their coverage, and 78% reported that they were satisfied with their coverage. Sixty-seven percent of those that scheduled a first appointment with a primary care doctor were able to get an appointment within two weeks.

These data are based on a national telephone survey of 4,425 adults conducted in English and Spanish April 9 – June 2, 2014, with a margin of sampling error of +/- 2.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

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