With the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in full swing, the uninsured rate in the U.S. fell 2.2 percentage points to 13.4% in the second quarter of 2014. This is the lowest quarterly average recorded since 2008, according to a recent Gallup poll of over 45,000 Americans.
Individual Mandate Driving Uninsured Rate Down
According to Gallup, a primary reason for the dip in uninsured is the ACA's individual mandate which went into effect in 2014 and requires nearly all Americans to either have health insurance coverage or pay a penalty at tax time.
The uninsured rate dropped by 3.7 points since the fourth quarter of 2013, when it averaged 17.1%. The drop reflects a surge of health plan enrollees in early April, prior to the April 15 extended enrollment deadline for people who had previously experienced technical difficulties with the federal Health Insurance Marketplace.
Increase in Individual Health Insurance, Medicaid Coverage
The poll also asked about how Americans are insured, finding an increase in individual health insurance and Medicaid coverage.
While American adults are still most likely to have health insurance through an employer (43.5%), one in five (20.7%) now say they have a health insurance plan they or a family member pays for, compared with 16.7% in August-September 2013.
There was also a slight increase in the percentage covered by Medicaid insurance reflecting the ACA expansion of Medicaid eligibility in may states.