Overall health coverage up, but employment-based coverage remains flat, EBRI reports

More working-age Americans had health insurance in last year due to an increase in individuals buying health coverage individually and the growth of publicly financed care such as Medicaid, according to a new report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). The rate of coverage through employment-based health plans was essentially flat. The EBRI report is based on the most recent data from the March Supplement to the Current Population Survey from the Census Bureau.

The EBRI analysis focuses mainly on changes in health insurance coverage between 2013 and 2014, the year before and after provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) took effect. As intended, the law “increased health insurance coverage and reduced the uninsured,” said Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s Health Research and Education Program. But that coverage growth did not occur in working-age adults (18‒64) in employment-based health plans, where the rate of coverage was unchanged at 62 percent between 2013 and 2014.

The report found the following:

• The percentage of nonelderly (working-age) individuals in the United States with health insurance increased between 2013 and 2014. In 2014, 88 percent of individuals were covered, up from 84.6 percent in 2013.
• The percentage of workers who had no health insurance coverage fell from 17.2 percent in 2013 to 13.3 percent because of an increase in the percentage with health insurance coverage purchased directly from an insurance carrier and because of an increase in Medicaid coverage.
• Among the entire population, the percentage with coverage purchased directly from an insurance carrier increased from 8.8 percent in 2013 to 12.6 percent in 2014, which represents a corresponding increase of about 10 million people with coverage purchased directly from an insurance carrier.
• Enrollment in public programs increased as well between 2013 and 2014. In 2014, 71.5 million (or 26.6 percent of the nonelderly population), were covered by Medicaid or State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), up from 65.5 million (or 24.5 percent) in 2013.
• Twelve percent of individuals under age 65 did not have health insurance at any point in 2014, down from 15.4 percent in 2013. Just over 32 million were uninsured in 2014, down from 41.1 million in 2013.

SOURCE: EBRI report, Sources of Health Insurance Coverage: A Look at Changes Between 2013 and 2014 from the March 2014 and 2015 Current Population Survey

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