RCN Foundation: How Has the Affordable Care Act Benefitted Medically Underserved Communities? National Findings from the 2014 Community Health Centers Uniform Data System

This policy research brief from the Geiger Gibson/RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative describes the impact of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on health insurance coverage among patients served by the nation’s community health centers.  Based on data collected from nearly 1,300 federally funded community health centers operating in over 9,000 locations, the report shows that between 2013 and 2014, the number of health center patients with health insurance rose by more than 2.3 million (a 17 percent increase), the number of uninsured patients declined by 1.2 million (a 16 percent decrease), and the total number of patients served rose by over 1.1 million, (a 5 percent increase).

Medicaid accounted for approximately 79 percent (1.8 million) of the 2.3 million increase in insured patients served by health centers.  At the same time, the number of privately insured health center patients also rose from 3.1 to 3.6 million, an increase of 16 percent and by far the greatest increase in private insurance coverage over the 1996-2014 time period.  Given health center patients’ historically limited access to employer-sponsored coverage, this increase can be attributed to the affordable private health insurance made available through the ACA’s health insurance marketplaces.

The policy research brief was produced by the Geiger Gibson/RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative, which is based at Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, and funded by the RCHN Community Health Foundation.

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