ACA uncertainty impacts rate of insured: What health execs should know
The slight rise of the uninsured rate could be attributable to the uncertainty surrounding the long-term future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a new poll.
The percentage of U.S. adults without health insurance rose slightly in the first quarter of 2017, to 11.3%, according to a Gallup-Healthways poll. The uninsured rate was 10.9% in each of the last two quarters of 2016, a record low since Gallup and Healthways began tracking insurance coverage in 2008.
The results for the first quarter of 2017 are based on 44,596 interviews with U.S. adults aged 18 and older from January 2 to March 31, conducted as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Gallup and Healthways have asked a random sample of at least 500 U.S. adults each day since January 2008 whether they have health insurance.
Additionally, the percentage of uninsured has dropped sharply among young adults since 2013, according to the poll, since the requirement to obtain health insurance coverage took effect. Adults aged 18 to 25 have seen more than a seven-percentage-point decline in their uninsured rate, which may be, in part, attributable to an ACA provision that allows young adults to remain on their parents’ health insurance until age 26. Meanwhile, those aged 26 to 34 have seen a nearly 10-point drop.
Fewer coverage options, fewer insured?
It will be important to monitor the uninsured trends in the coming months as potential changes to the ACA unfold, according to Dan Witters, research director for the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. “If coverage options and premiums do change, members of Congress from both parties may show a renewed urgency to address the healthcare issue,” he says.
“The healthcare legislation debate remains unsettled, and it is unclear how soon President Trump and Congress will attempt to pass revised legislation,” Witters adds.
“Our research will continue to closely monitor the levels of those who are uninsured versus insured to understand any impact of revised healthcare laws," he says. "Several insurers have announced that they are abandoning some health exchanges in 2018, suggesting that coverage options could diminish and premiums could surge in the near future in some states.”