A new study reports that an estimated 10.3 million American adults have gained health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) since open enrollment started last October, with the major gains among young adults and Hispanics.
The study was jointly funded by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, Brigham, Women’s Hospital in Boston, and the federal government. The researchers’ findings are based data indicating a 5.2 percentage drop in the U.S. uninsured rate since last September for Americans aged 18-64 years.
The key findings of the study are as follows
- States that expanded eligibility for Medicaid had the biggest gains. Under Obamacare, it was not mandatory for states to expand eligibility
- The percentage of uninsured people aged 18-64 fell from 21 percent in 2013 to 16 percent in 2014
- The study found vital evidence that substantiates that more than 4.4 million American adults had access to a personal doctor
- It was found that 5.3 million adults encountered difficulties in paying for a medical care within the first six months of achieving health coverage
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) focuses on expanding health coverage to millions of Americans and the study by the Harvard researchers seems to reaffirm that the country is on the path to achieving this goal. Expanding Medicaid seems crucial for coverage expansion, with 26 states moving forward with the federal insurance program for the poor.
The researchers compared national survey results with Census data as well as government figures on marketplace enrollment in private insurance and Medicaid. However, some industry watchers point out that the data analyzed was not comprehensive enough to display a casual relationship between the ACA and the uninsured rate, and that it found only “suggestive associations”. Moreover, the data did not include about 3 million young adults estimated to have achieved coverage by joining their parents’ insurance policies under the ACA.