Study: 10.3 Million Gained Insurance under Obamacare

July 24, 2014
Laura Joszt

Following the first open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act's marketplaces, 10.3 million uninsured adults gained covered, according to a new analysis of data.

Following the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) first open enrollment period for the marketplaces, 10.3 million uninsured adults gained health coverage, according to the results of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

By examining insurance trends before and after the open enrollment period at the beginning of 2014, the researchers found greater gains among states that expanded Medicaid programs under the ACA.

The researchers assessed coverage changes in the fourth quarter of 2013 and the first 2 quarters of 2014; tested for differential effects in subgroups most likely to gain insurance under the ACA; and an association between survey-reported coverage changes and state-level marketplace and Medicaid enrollment statistics from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

“We are committed to providing every American with access to quality, affordable health services and this study reaffirms that the Affordable Care Act has set us on a path toward achieving that goal,” Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said in a statement. “This study also reaffirms that expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act is important for coverage, as well as a good deal for states.”

With the uninsured rate for adults ages 18 to 64 declining 5.2 percentage points to 16.3%, the researchers estimate 10.3 million adults gained healthcare coverage. The largest change occurred among Latinos, blacks, and younger adults between the ages of 18 and 34.

In Medicaid expansion states, the uninsured rate for persons with incomes at or below 138% of the federal poverty level declined 6%. By comparison, the uninsured rate for that same group only declined 3.1% in states without Medicaid expansion.

The study also found that more adults (4.4 million) gained coverage and reported having a personal doctor, while less (5.3 million) experienced difficulties paying for medical care.

“To date, 26 states plus DC have moved forward with Medicaid expansion,” Burwell said. “We’re hopeful remaining states will come on board and we look forward to working closely with them.”