The Census Bureau recently released two reports that present new data on insurance coverage and income and poverty in the US in 2014. In the first full year of marketplace health insurance (through the Affordable Care Act), the uninsured rate dropped from 13.3 percent down to 10.4 percent with almost 9 million people gaining health coverage.
This is a historic win for our country’s health, and the numbers will only improve with the beginning of the third open enrollment period (OE3). The health insurance marketplace opens again to the public November 1, 2015, and closes January 31, 2016.
The Bureau found evidence of a substantial decrease in uninsured between 2013 and 2014: 13.3%, or 41.8 million people, to 10.4%, or 33 million people. The report attributes this overall growth in coverage to increases in both private and government insurance coverage. Growth in direct-purchase health insurance and Medicaid led to the greatest changes in health insurance coverage. Direct-purchase health insurance coverage increased from 11.4% to 14.6% and Medicaid coverage increased from 17.5% to 19.5%. Individuals with lower incomes were more likely to have government coverage or no coverage, compared to those with higher incomes in 2014—65.3% of those with household incomes lower than $25,000 had government health insurance coverage, compared to 18.5% of individuals with the highest incomes.
While there were substantial increases in insurance coverage seen in 2014, the Census Bureau reports that the national poverty rate held steady from 2013 to 2014, with 14.8%, or 46.7 million people, living in poverty in 2014. The poverty rate for children age 18 and under was 21.1%.