Across the country, millions of people have been able to get health insurance for what could be the first time ever as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's coverage mandate and both state- and federally run exchanges. As a result, the number of people who go without such coverage nationwide continues to decline, and now sits at extremely low levels.
Through the end of March of this year - when open enrollment for the ACA's mandated exchanges came to an end - only about 9.2 percent of Americans of all ages (about 29 million) didn't have at least some kind of health insurance, down roughly 7 million from the 11.5 percent from the same period a year earlier, according to new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, among adults between the ages of 18 and 64 - those not yet eligible for Medicare - that number slides to 13 percent. That number, too, was down on an annual basis, from the 16.3 percent observed in 2014.
Finally, children under the age of 18 who had insurance through private sources jumped to 56.3 percent this year, up from the 52.6 percent observed in 2013, the report said. That increase was the first observed in 14 years among kids who are covered by private health insurance.
Indeed, adults 18 to 64 are likewise getting more private coverage, as 70.4 percent of them now obtain their health insurance in this manner, the report said. That number is up from the 67.3 percent observed a year earlier. Meanwhile, the share of people under the age of 65 who have coverage they purchased through the exchanges rose to 3.6 percent of that age group - accounting for about 9.7 million - from 2014's 2.5 percent or 6.7 million. In all, 18.1 percent of pre-Medicare adults have some sort of public health insurance.
And in addition to the 56.3 percent of kids who are covered by private insurance, another 40.4 percent have it through public coverage options, the report said. Consequently, only 4.6 percent of kids don't have any kind of insurance at all.
A closer demographic breakdown
It used to be that there was a lot of separation among age groups when it comes to not having coverage, the report said. As recently as 2010, adults between the ages of 45 and 64, for instance, had rates of uninsurance nearly half of that for those who were between 18 and 24. But now, thanks to various provisions of the ACA, these rates fall between 9 percent (for those 45 to 64) and 18.3 percent (for young adults between the ages of 25 and 34). Adults aged 18 to 24 (15.4 percent) and 35 to 44 (14 percent) have likewise seen substantial drops in uninsurance rates since 2013, when the coverage mandate went into effect.
This is all good news for health insurance companies in general, as the law seems to continually be getting more people involved in the marketplace. However, they may still have to do more to help people understand their coverage.