From 2019 to 2021, there were increases in health coverage among younger adults, Hispanics, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and non-English speaking adults report shown
The report was released Friday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and is based on data from the American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. The researchers found that overall, the uninsured rate fell to 10.5 percent in 2021 from 11.1 percent in 2019. There were higher gains in coverage among states that recently expanded Medicaid, including Maine and Idaho.
“Despite public health and economic stress from the Covid-19 pandemic, the US experienced a decline in the uninsured rate in 2020 and 2021, likely in part due to changes in federal and state Medicaid and Marketplace coverage policies,” the report said.
Some of the biggest changes are among demographic groups that have historically had less health coverage, according to the report. The uninsured rate for adults ages 19 to 34 fell to 15 percent in 2021 from 16 percent in 2019, while the uninsured rate for adults ages 35 to 49 fell to 13 percent from 14 percent. People ages 50 to 64 also saw their uninsured rate drop, but by a smaller amount (to 9.1 percent from 9.5 percent).
Additionally, the uninsured rate for Hispanics fell 1.1 percentage points over the two-year period to 19.1 percent from 20.2 percent. American Indians/Alaska Natives saw their uninsured rate drop to 21.5% from 22.4%. Non-English-speaking adults also had one of the largest decreases in the uninsured rate, to 27.3 percent in 2021 from 28.8 percent in 2019.
In terms of household income, the biggest drop was among those between 100 and 250 percent of the federal poverty level. This population experienced a 1 to 1.4 percentage point decline in uninsured rates from 2019 to 2021.
The report also examines the reasons for the decline in uninsured rates. This includes federal policies such as continued Medicaid enrollment, enhanced premium tax credits through the America’s Rescue Plan, and additional funding for Marketplace distribution.
“We know that access to quality, affordable health care is key to healthier lives, economic security and peace of mind,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in news release. “As we move forward, the Department of Health and Human Services will continue to do everything we can to protect, expand and strengthen the programs that provide the quality, affordable health care that Americans rely on and deserve.”
HHS also recently released data on national Marketplace plan choices, which showed that nearly 16 million Americans have signed up for coverage in the ACA Marketplaces since the start of the 2023 Open Enrollment Period. That’s a 13 percent increase over last year.