Changes due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and more specifically, the individual shared responsibility provision led to a significant drop in the number of uninsured Americans in 2014. This is especially true for young Americans, according to the National Health Interview Survey Early Release Program.
Background on the Survey
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) has released selected estimates of health insurance coverage based on data from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), along with comparable estimates from the 2009-2013 NHIS. Estimates are for January through March of 2014 and are based on data for 27,627 individuals.
Uninsured Population in the First Quarter
The survey results revealed that in the first three months of 2014, 13.2 percent of Americans (41 million Americans) were uninsured. The rate of uninsured Americans varied among age demographics. For individuals under age 65, the uninsured rate was 15.2 percent (40.7 million), while only 6.6 percent of children (4.9 million) were uninsured. For young adults age 19 to 25 the percentage of uninsured was 20.9 percent (6.3 million).
Other trends about uninsured individuals in the first three months of the year included:
The percentage of uninsured for at least part of the year was 17.8 percent (55.5 million) across all age demographics.
The percentage of uninsured individuals under age 65 who were uninsured at least part of the year was 20.5 percent (54.8 million).
The percentage of uninsured adults age 18 to 64 who were uninsured at least part of the year was 24.3 percent.
Almost 30 million (9.6 percent) of Americans of all ages had been uninsured for more than a year.
Among young adults age 19 to 25, 14.9 percent had been uninsured for more than a year.
Decreases in the Uninsured Population
According to the survey, between 2013 and the first quarter of 2014, there were significant decreases in the percentages of uninsured Americans across all ages. The most significant decrease was among young adults, age 19 to 25. The uninsured percentage for this age demographic dropped from 26.5 percent in 2013 to 20.9 percent in the first quarter of 2014.
Among young adults age 19 to 25 who were uninsured for over a year, the rate of uninsured fell from 19.8 percent in 2013 to 14.9 percent in the first three months of 2014. This can be attributed, in part, to the fact that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has allowed parents to keep children up to 26 years old on their health insurance plan.
Adult Men Generally More Likely to Be Uninsured
In the first three months of 2014, adult men were generally more likely to be uninsured among most age demographics. While 28.3 percent of men age 25 to 34 were uninsured during the first quarter of 2014, that was only the case for 21.7 percent of women the same age.
Read the full survey at the Centers for Disease Control.