More Good News: Dramatic Reductions in Uninsured Rates for the Poor and Near Poor


August 13, 2015

Earlier this week, our Fact of the Week highlighted the significant drop in the percentage of uninsured Americans since the Affordable Care Act’s major expansion initiatives took effect. This good news was backed up when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics released similar findings yesterday. The CDC’s report breaks down the gains by several different categories, including by poverty status. Its results show much-needed improvements in uninsured rates among low-income Americans.
Specifically, the CDC found that 42.4 percent of poor adults were uninsured in 2010. That percentage inched down to 39.9 percent in 2013, but fell to 28 percent in the first three months of 2015. The near poor (those living between 100 and 200 percent of the federal poverty level) had an even more drastic drop – nearly 45 percent down over 5 years. Forty-three percent of those living near poverty were uninsured in 2010. This fell to 38.5 percent in 2013 and to 23.8 percent in 2015. For adults not living in poverty, the percent without insurance fell from 12.6 percent in 2010 to 11.4 percent in 2013 and to 7.5 percent in 2015.

CDC adult poor near poor uninsured rate

Poor and near-poor children also benefited from the ACA’s expansion. Low-income children were already more likely to be insured because of the federal-state Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicaid. Still, more than 10 percent of children living in poverty had no health insurance in 2010; this fell to just under 8 percent in 2013 and to 4.6 percent in 2015. The percentage of children living in near poverty fell from 12.6 percent in 2010 to 10.6 percent in 2013 and to 7.9 percent in 2015. Children not living in poverty were also more likely to have health insurance in 2015 than in either 2013 or 2010.

CDC children poor near poor uninsured rate

Uninsured rates dropped across ethnic and racial groups as well. According to the CDC report, Hispanic adults had the greatest percentage point decrease in the uninsured rate between 2013 (when the rate stood at 40.6 percent) and the first three months of 2015 (when the rate was 28.3 percent). Non-Hispanic black, non-Hispanic Asian, and non-Hispanic white adults also saw the percentage of insured adults decrease.

CDC adult uninsured rate by ethnicity

As we noted in our preceding post, findings like these from the CDC and those from Gallup underscore the importance of protecting the Affordable Care Act from those who want to dismantle it, and urging states who haven’t yet done so to expand Medicaid to their low-income residents.

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