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Small Business Employee Benefits and HR Blog

Who Was Helped the Most Under the ACA?

October 31, 2014
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At its most basic level, one of the primary goals of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was to reduce the number of uninsured Americans. The ACA, and more specifically, the individual shared responsibility provision and medicaid expansion, have already led to a significant drop in the number of uninsured Americans in 2014. According to the New York Times, about 10 million more people have insurance coverage this year due to the ACA. Some areas and demographics were impacted more than others.

The New York Times has released an article based on a large data set from Enroll America, a group who is trying to sign people up for coverage, and data firm Civis Analytics. Here is what these groups have found out about who the ACA helped the most.

Overall Decrease in Uninsured Americans

Overall uninsured AmericansChart: New York Times

According to the NY Times article, the data set from Enroll America/Civis shows that 10 million Americans who had no insurance in 2013 enrolled in policies in 2014. In fact, the groups estimate that the number of uninsured adults under 65 fell from 16 percent to 11 percent.

States that Expanded Medicaid Have a Less Uninsured

States with medicaid expansionChart: New York Times

The states that expanded Medicaid programs have a significantly lower rate of uninsured citizens. This year, 26 states and the District of Columbia have expanded medicaid. The NY Times article pointed out that many of the states that the defined state boundaries in the map exemplifies the impact of Medicaid expansion.

Decline in Uninsured Americans of All Races

Uninsured Americans by RaceChart: New York Times

While whites and asians started off the year with a significantly smaller uninsured population, the ACA has helped to narrow the gap. While the black and hispanic populations still have higher rates of uninsurance, the decrease due to the ACA has been more significant in these population.

Younger Americans Were Greatly Impacted

While there were declines in the percentage of uninsured Americans of all ages, young Americans were impacted the most:

  • The rate of uninsurance for individuals ages 18 to 34 declined from 21.6 percent to 14.2 percent

  • The rate of uninsurance for individuals ages 35 to 44 declined from 16.3 percent to 11.2 percent

  • The rate of uninsurance for individuals ages 45 to 54 declines from 15 percent to 10.6 percent

  • The rate of uninsurance for individuals ages 55 to 64 declined from 12.7 percent to 9.1 percent

The New York Times points out that even with this significant drop in uninsured young Americans, this does not count the approximately 3 million young adults who received coverage on their parents policies before 2014.

The Poorest Neighborhoods Saw the Greatest Impact

Poorest Neighborhoods Chart: New York Times

People from low-income neighborhoods saw the most benefit from the ACA. This makes sense and aligns with many provisions of the law; low-income Americans were able to receive Medicaid in states that expanded Medicaid, while middle-income Americans were able to qualify for premium tax credits.

Read the full article from the New York Times Here.

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