Uninsured rates for some groups rose, survey finds

Uninsured rates rose for people aged 35 to 49, adults making more than 400 percent of the poverty level, and those living in states that did not expand Medicaid, according to a survey by the Commonwealth Fund. However, the overall uninsured rate has remained statistically unchanged from 2016 at 14 percent, or 27 million working-age adults.

The survey, which the Commonwealth Fund conducted from March to June 2017, found that 13 million uninsured adults (48 percent of the uninsured) have incomes that would qualify them for Medicaid or for premium subsidies if they bought marketplace coverage. The remaining uninsured include: (1) four million people with incomes under the federal poverty level, which would qualify them for Medicaid had their state expanded eligibility under Sec. 2001 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA); (2) three million people whose incomes are too high to qualify for premium subsidies; and (3) seven million foreign-born Latinos.

The uninsured rate among 35 to 49 year olds rose from 11 percent in 2016 to 15 percent in 2017. The Commonwealth Fund also found “a small but significant” increase in the uninsured rate among adults whose income makes them ineligible for premium tax credits; these people must pay the full insurance premium and are subject to annual premium increases. The survey also found a “widening of the divide between expansion and nonexpansion states,” as the uninsured rate in nonexpansion states increased by 3 percentage points in 2017 to 19 percent, almost double the 11 percent rate in expansion states.

The report recommended these policy options to help the uninsured gain coverage: (1) providing enrollment assistance; (2) raising awareness of the marketplace; (3) providing premium subsidies to more people; and (4) expanding Medicaid in all states.

SOURCE: www.commonwealthfund.org
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