U.S. Uninsured Rate Dropped in 2016, but Reductions Are Leveling Out


The share of people without health insurance continued to decline in the first six months of 2016, to 8.9 percent, but the decline is beginning to level out.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 28.4 million people of all ages were uninsured, a drop of 20.2 million people since 2010, when the Affordable Care Act was enacted. But the number of uninsured declined by only 200,000 people since 2015, not a significant drop, the CDC said.

Among adults ages 18 to 64, before people are eligible for the federal Medicare program, 12.4 percent were uninsured, 69.2 percent had private health insurance and 20 percent had public coverage, the CDC said. A small number of people were covered by both public and private plans, resulting in percentages that add up to slightly more than 100 percent.

The ACA set up health insurance exchanges starting in 2014, through which moderate- and low-income people who don’t have access to qualified health plans through employers can purchase coverage with federal subsidies. The law also gave states additional funding to expand their Medicaid programs to cover people earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, but 19 states still have not done so.

The number of uninsured “can still edge down but most of what we’re going to get out of Obamacare we’ve gotten now,” Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index Director Dan Witters said.

“There still will be 20 to 25 million without health insurance in this country,” Witters said. “It’s not realistic to think it will get much lower than 9 percent” uninsured, he said.

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