HHS Reports 16.4 Million Gained Coverage in the 5 Years Since the ACA Became Law

Since open enrollment began in October 2013, 14.1 million adults have signed up for health insurance with an additional 2.3 million gaining coverage through the provision covering young adults.

Since open enrollment began in October 2013, 14.1 million adults have gained health insurance coverage, according to a report from HHS.

In addition to the people who have since signed up for coverage, dropping the uninsured rate from 20.3% to 13.2%, 2.3 million young adults between the ages of 19 and 25 years gained coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s provision allowing young adults to remain on their parents’ plan until age 26. Recently, a report found that this provision has also led to a decrease in emergency department visits by young adults.

In the first quarter of 2014, 5.2 million individuals had gained coverage, which increased to 10.7 million in the third quarter of 2014.

“Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act almost five years ago, about 16.4 million uninsured people have gained health coverage—the largest reduction in the uninsured in four decades," HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said in a statement.

The uninsured rate has declined across all race/ethnicity groups, but the decline among African Americans and Latinos has been greater than that among whites. The uninsured rate among whites declined by 5.3 percentage points compared with a 9.2 percentage point and 12.3 percentage point drops among African Americans and Latinos, respectively.

The HHS report detailed that coverage gains was stronger in states that chose to expand Medicaid, which is something Gallup has also found. In non-expansion states the average uninsured rate prior to the ACA was 23.4%, which fell 6.9 percentage points. Expansion states were already starting with a lower baseline uninsured rate (18.2%), and the gap only increased as the uninsured rate dropped 7.4 percentage points.

“When it comes to the key metrics of affordability, access, and quality, the evidence shows that the Affordable Care Act is working, and families, businesses and taxpayers are better off as a result,” Secretary Burwell said.