The Affordable Care Act (ACA), one of the most comprehensive reforms of the US Medical system extends Medicare coverage to millions of the low income group and delivers quality care thereby lowering the total healthcare costs. It is estimated that about 30 million Americans are expected to receive health insurance benefits through ACA and a sizable workforce is essential to fulfill these rising demands. With more number of people getting insured, the healthcare sector will face a shortfall of physicians. Moreover, it may create medical billing and reimbursement challenges for medical providers.
However, a new study reports that the uninsured rate for US adults has dropped since the open enrollment period for opting health insurance coverage ended in mid-April, 2014. The uninsured rate was recorded at 13.4 % in April when compared to 15.6% in March 2014.
The total percentage of US adults without insurance coverage during the first two months of the second quarter of 2014 decreased from 17.1% in the fourth quarter of 2013 and from 15.6% average in the first quarter of 2014.
Obamacare is mostly helping low–income Americans, blacks and Hispanics. The Obama administration (in late March) had extended the actual deadline to buy insurance coverage from April 1 to April 15, 2014. This move was to help those people who had actually started the insurance enrollment process but were not able to complete the same.
The current uninsured rate of 13.4% (during the second quarter of 2014) is the lowest level ever recorded as the Gallup survey began tracking the results from the year 2008 onwards. As part of the survey, they analyzed data from about 30,400 interviews with Americans from April 1-May 31, 2014.
The major findings of the survey are mentioned below –
- The uninsured rate was lower in April than in the fourth quarter of 2013 across every key demographic group. Considering other major demographics groups, the rate among blacks displayed a significant reduction to 6.2 percentage points from around 14.7%.
- Often, Hispanics can become a prominent target of public outreach efforts. They are probably one of the main demographic groups which remain uninsured.
- Hispanics had the second largest reduction in the percentage of uninsured across different demographics group. Even though the rate among Hispanics is down by 5.6 points since the end of 2013 to 33.1%, this continues to be the highest uninsured rate across key subgroups.
- The younger US adult population is a group whose active participation in this health insurance system is essential to lower the total health costs.
- Adults aged between 26-34 years are the highest uninsured rate among all age groups.
The US uninsured rate in both April and May 2014 was 13.4%, which is quite lower than the previous quarters. This signifies a leveling off of the uninsured rate compared with the month-by-month declines seen in previous months. However, it remains to be seen whether the uninsured rate will remain stable like this, increase or decrease when the next open enrollment begins.
Even when the healthcare law has reduced the total number of uninsured US adults, a good majority of the population still disapproves of it and many believe that it has not really helped them. A more positive approach towards the law and its potential effect on the US healthcare environment may further help to lower the uninsured rate.