The national uninsured rate hit 8 percent in early 2022, a record low with 5.2 million people gaining coverage as of 2020, according to the Department of Health and Human Services report released on Tuesday.
The report analyzed data from the National Health Interview Survey and the American Community Survey.
“Our new report shows that the nation’s uninsured rate has hit an all-time low this year — welcome news and proof that our efforts to protect and expand the Affordable Care Act are paying off,” said Secretary HHS Xavier Becerra c 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.”
The uninsured rate declined significantly in 2021 and early 2022, reaching 8% in the first quarter from January to March. The previous record was 9 percent in 2016, according to the report.
Of the 5.2 million people gaining coverage since 2020, 4.1 million adults ages 18 to 63 have become insured and 1 million children ages 0 to 17 have become insured. That increase was largely due to increased market subsidies and an extended enrollment period in 2021 under the US bailout, according to the report.
In addition, there were several state Medicaid expansions. When looking at state-specific analyzes for low-income adults from 2018 to 2020, 18 states saw declines in uninsured rates, 15 of which expanded Medicaid. Of the five states that expanded Medicaid from 2019 to 2020, all saw declines in uninsured rates. Idaho saw the largest drop of 8.4 percent from 2018 to 2020. Data beyond 2020 is not yet available.
The uninsured rate for people ages 18 to 64 fell from 14.5 percent in late 2020 to 11.8 percent in early 2022. For those ages 0 to 17, the uninsured rate fell from 6 .4% in late 2020 to 3.7% in early 2022.
Adults covered by the market grew from 4.4% in 2020 to 5.4% in early 2022, representing about 2 million adults.
The biggest changes in uninsured rates are in the poorest demographics. Among those with incomes 100% below the federal poverty level, the uninsured rate rose from 20% in the first quarter of 2021 to 15.5% in the first quarter of 2022. For those with incomes between 100% and 200% of the federal poverty level rate rose from 16.6% to 16%. For those with incomes between 200% and 400% of the federal poverty level, the rate rose from 11.7% to 9.7%. The smallest decrease was among those earning more than 400 percent of the federal poverty level, with the uninsured rate falling from 4.2 percent to 3.7 percent.
“I hope that with action from Congress, we can continue the work of reducing costs for more Americans, both by extending the improved Affordable Care Act tax credits that helped raise the uninsured rate to the lowest level for all times, both by increasing the affordability of prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries—reducing their cost-sharing and allowing Medicare to negotiate a better deal on prescription drug prices,” Becerra said.
Photo: YinYang, Getty Images