Uninsured Americans on rise

 

The percentage of U.S. adults without health insurance rose slightly in the first quarter of 2017, to 11.3%. 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.

Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate required Americans to obtain coverage or pay a tax penalty. Since President Trump was elected he has instructed the IRS not to pursue people who fail to buy health insurance, cancelled a paid for health insurance advertising campaign, and botched a proposal to repeal the ACA.

Young adults have seen some of the most significant decreases in uninsured rates since the requirement to obtain health insurance coverage took effect.

Uninsured rates also have fallen substantially among Hispanics and lower-income Americans but the uninsured rate among Hispanics remains the highest of any major racial or ethnic group, at 28.6%.

Most Americans aged 65 and older receive health cover through Medicare, while younger adults buy their own insurance. Medicaid caters to lower-income and disabled Americans, and states have and continue to expand Medicaid eligibility.

Adults 18 to 64 -

  • Insurance via current or former employer 44%
  • Paid by self or other family member 20.7%
  • Medicaid 8.7%
  • Medicare 7.0%

The healthcare legislation debate remains unsettled, and it is unclear how soon President Trump and Congress will attempt to pass revised legislation. 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.

The slight rise in the number of uninsured Americans in the first quarter of 2017 is in part attributable to the uncertainty surrounding the long-term future of the Affordable Care Act.

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