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Surveys: Millions of Previously Uninsured Have Gained Coverage Under ACA

Surveys: Millions of Previously Uninsured Have Gained Coverage Under ACA

July 11, 2014 — Between eight million and 11 million previously uninsured U.S. residents have obtained health coverage since the fall 2013 launch of the initial open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act's (PL 111-148) insurance marketplaces, according to data from a trio of new surveys, the Los Angeles Times reports (Terhune/Lauter, Los Angeles Times, 7/10).

Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Survey

In one survey, Gallup-Healthways conducted telephone interviews with 45,125 adults ages 18 and older across the U.S. from April 1 to June 30 (Gallup survey, 7/10).

The survey found that the uninsured rate fell to 13.4% in the second quarter of 2014, down 3.7 percentage points since last fall. The rate is the lowest level recorded since Gallup first began tracking the issue in 2008 (Viebeck, The Hill, 7/10).

Urban Institute Survey

Meanwhile, the Urban Institute's Health Reform Monitoring Survey found that eight million people have gained coverage since fall 2013 (Nather, Politico, 7/10). Specifically, researchers found that the uninsured rate for adults under age 65 declined to 13.9%, down four percentage points since September 2013.

The data were based on the HRMS, which has been tracking insurance trends on a quarterly basis since March 2013 (Urban Institute survey, 7/10).

Commonwealth Fund Survey

Separately, the Commonwealth Fund this week released a survey that determined that 9.5 million fewer adults are now uninsured (Politico, 7/10). Specifically, the survey found that the uninsured rate among adults under age 65 declined from 20% to about 15%, the New York Times' "The Upshot" reports (Sanger-Katz, "The Upshot," New York Times, 7/10).

For the survey, researchers interviewed 4,425 U.S. residents ages 19 to 64 between April 2014 and June 2014 and compared uninsured rates to data from July 2013 to September 2013 (Commonwealth Fund release, 7/10).

Reaction

According to Politico, many health care experts believe that while there is too much variation in the data to precisely estimate how many people have gained coverage since the beginning of the marketplaces' initial open enrollment period, these surveys and others that have found similar results are sufficient to conclude that the ACA is reducing the uninsured rate.

Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation noted that the variation in survey results also could mean the true number of uninsured could be a "couple million more or less" than the Commonwealth Fund survey results (Politico, 7/10).