KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Census Report Finds Number Of Uninsured Drops To 29 Million Americans

The uninsured rate plummets to 9.1 percent, and nearly 13 million more people are insured than when the health law began implementation in 2013, the Census Bureau reports.

The Washington Post: Uninsurance Rate Drops To The Lowest Level Since Before The Great Recession
About 4 million Americans gained health insurance last year, decreasing the nation’s uninsured rate to 9.1 percent, the lowest level since before the Great Recession, according to new federal figures. The figures, released Tuesday from a large annual Census Bureau survey, show that the gains were driven primarily by an expansion of coverage among people buying individual policies, rather than getting health benefits through a job. This includes, but is not limited to, the kind of coverage sold on the insurance exchanges that began in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act. (Goldstein, 9/13)

The New York Times: U.S. Household Income Grew 5.2 Percent In 2015, Breaking Pattern Of Stagnation
The Census Bureau also reported that the share of Americans with health insurance continued to increase. It said that only 9.1 percent of the population had no health insurance last year. Several states, including Alaska, Indiana and Pennsylvania, expanded their Medicaid programs in 2015, taking advantage of increased federal funding under the Affordable Care Act. Private sector coverage also increased as companies hired more workers and offered them better benefits. (Applebaum, 9/13)

Kaiser Health News: Number Of Uninsured Falls Again In 2015
Still, between 2013 and 2015, the first two full years the health law was in effect, the uninsured rate dropped by more than 4 percentage points. The total number of uninsured fell by 12.8 million. Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans with insurance for at least some part of the year climbed to 90.9 percent, by far the highest in recent memory. (Rovner, 9/13)

Bloomberg: Rate Of Uninsured In U.S. Dropped To All Time-Low Last Year 
The uninsured rate fell in at least 47 states and the District of Columbia, with non-statistically significant changes in three states, the Census said. “All the states saw a reduction, but the big reductions came from the states that expanded Medicaid,” Ken Thorpe, professor of health policy and management at Emory University, said in a telephone interview. “If the remaining states expanded Medicaid, I believe the rate would decline as low as 6.1 percent, which would have an enormous impact on the economy and the health-care industry.” (Doherty, 9/13)

The Hill: Census: Uninsured Rate Drops Under ObamaCare 
The uninsured rate fell to 9.1 percent in 2015, according to new data from the Census Bureau. The Census Bureau has found a significant drop in the uninsured rate since 2013, before ObamaCare’s coverage expansion went into effect. In 2013, the uninsured rate was 13.3 percent. The difference between then and 2015 translates to roughly 13 million people gaining insurance, as the number of uninsured people fell from about 42 million to about 29 million. (Sullivan, 9/13)

Modern Healthcare: Uninsured Rate Drops, But Medical Expenses Still Drag Millions Into Poverty 
However, separate census data showed that medical out-of-pocket expenses dragged 11.2 million people into poverty in 2015, a potential symptom of the shift of moving employees and individuals into health plans that have higher deductibles, copays and coinsurance rates. “This (report) is really validating the point that the law is working to expand health insurance coverage,” said Erin Trish, a health policy professor at the University of Southern California. But, she said, “There's definitely evidence suggesting people are still having a hard time making their payments for the premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.” (Herman, 9/13)

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