The ACA helped working people get insured

Rates of health insurance coverage in working families increased under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). About 9.5 million workers and 5.2 million of their family members gained coverage from 2010 to 2015 under the ACA, according to a brief from the Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Prior to the passage of the ACA, employer-sponsored insurance rates saw decades of decline.

New coverage.

The ACA provided opportunities for workers to obtain insurance coverage through reduced costs and incentives for employers to provide insurance to their employees. Under the ACA, workers with incomes between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) are eligible for premium assistance to make plans purchased on ACA exchanges more affordable. Additionally, the ACA’s employer and individual mandates incentivized employers and individuals to obtain coverage through the imposition of a penalty. Finally, in Medicaid expansion states, health insurance became available to workers with incomes below 138 percent of the FPL.


The ACA led to a 6.8 percentage-point or 9.5 million increase in the number of working individuals with insurance from 2010 to 2015. Together with newly insured family members, the increase in health insurance coverage totals 14.7 million. Coverage gains benefited workers across occupations: 1.3 million workers in food preparation and serving occupations along with 374,000 family members, nearly 1.2 million workers in sales and related occupations and 590,000 family members, and 982,000 office and administrative support workers gained coverage along with 585,000 family members. Additionally, occupations with lower rates of employer-sponsored insurance coverage saw larger gains in insurance coverage between 2010 and 2015.


Visit our News Library to read more news stories.