The uninsured rate for certain groups of consumers divided by their age, income and access to Medicaid, is on the rise, according to The Commonwealth Fund’s fifth annual survey tracking the Affordable Care Act. There was a significant increase in the uninsured rate for consumers ages 35 to 49; adults earning more than 400 percent of the federal poverty level ($47,520 for one person and $97,200 for a family of four); and those residing in states that have not expanded Medicaid, according to a news release on the survey.
The Commonwealth Fund’s survey included a nationally representative sample of 4,813 adults ages 19 to 64 living in the U.S. The uninsured rate for respondents ages 35 to 49 increased from 11 percent in 2016 to 15 percent in 2017, according to the survey. The uninsured rate for adults with incomes at or above 400 percent of the federal poverty level increased from 2 percent in 2016 to 5 percent in 2017. Consumers in this income group are responsible for the full insurance premium and are subject to annual premium increases, according to the survey.
Lastly, the uninsured rate for consumers living in states that did not expand Medicaid increased from 16 percent in 2016 to 19 percent in 2017. However, “despite the uptick in uninsured rates for some groups, the overall rate remained statistically unchanged from 2016 at 14 percent, representing an estimated 27 million working-age adults nationwide,” The Commonwealth Fund reports. “In the years since the Affordable Care Act was passed, more than 20 million Americans have gained health insurance,” said Sara Collins, vice president for Health Care Coverage and Access at The Commonwealth Fund and the report’s lead author, in the news release.
Expanding Medicaid in all states, making premium subsidies accessible to more consumers, and assisting them with finding coverage on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces could remediate limits on access to coverage for the uninsured, according to the survey. Other findings in the survey include:
Subsidies help consumers with low incomes afford premiums. While about 64 percent of consumers with incomes below 250 percent of the federal poverty level reported their premiums “were very or somewhat easy to afford,” only 34 percent of consumers with incomes above those levels provided the same response.
Cost was the primary reason consumers did not enroll in a plan. Seventy-four percent of uninsured adults who shopped the marketplaces and didn’t enroll in a plan or obtain other coverage reported they could not find a plan they could afford. However, 66 percent of consumers who reported they didn’t enroll in a plan because they couldn’t afford it had incomes that meet the qualifications for premium subsidies or Medicaid.
In 2017, 57 percent of consumers enrolled in plans through the marketplaces are estimated to have coverage with cost-sharing reductions that lower their deductible, copayments and coinsurance.