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ACA lowers uninsured by 15M people, mostly in Medicaid expansion states

Expansion states lowered uninsured rate more than 50 percent

It's good to be an insurer in a state that expanded Medicaid. That's because expansion states lowered their uninsured rate by more than 50 percent, compared to just 30 percent in nonexpansion states, according to the Urban Institute's latest Health Reform Monitoring Survey.

In the 29 states that expanded their Medicaid programs, 93 percent of residents now have insurance. In the states that haven't expanded Medicaid, about 86 percent of their residents have coverage.

"States that have yet to expand Medicaid should take a peek at their neighbors' coverage gains to see what a difference expansion has made," Katherine Hempstead, a director working on health insurance coverage at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funded the Urban Institute's survey, said in a statement.

The survey also found that the Affordable Care Act has decreased the uninsured rate by 15 million people total in the last two years, dropping the nation's uninsured rate to just about 10 percent.

The uninsured rate dropped to 12.9 percent at the end of 2014, down from 17 percent in 2013, while 16.4 million Americans have signed up for a health plan since the ACA was implemented, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

This ongoing shrinkage of the uninsured population, according to the Government Accountability Office, is a direct result of the subsidies made available to millions of people who couldn't afford coverage.

The Urban Institute noted that the overall decrease in the uninsured rate has particularly been pronounced for groups with high levels of uninsurance before the ACA, such as young adults and Hispanics. The amount of insured young adults grew almost 10 percentage points, compared with about 6 percentage points for older adults.

Meanwhile, Hispanic adults had an almost 15 percentage point increase, whereas nonwhite, non-Hispanic adults had a 9 percentage point growth. Although Hispanics are the largest ethnic minority group in the country, they're also the most underserved by both insurers and providers.

To learn more:
- here's the Urban Institute survey

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