New census data expected to highlight drop in uninsured
The U.S. Census Bureau will release its annual health insurance report this week, and it likely will mirror other studies and surveys that show that the number of uninsured Americans continues to drop.
The report will indicate how many people went without health coverage for 2014.
In 2013, 13.4% of the U.S. population, or 42 million people, had no health insurance, according to last year’s Census Bureau assessment. For the 271.4 million people who did have insurance, about two-thirds had private coverage through an employer or the individual market.
This week’s report will include the first full year of data from the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges, which have expanded healthcare coverage to about 10 million people. Millions more have gained insurance through the expansion of Medicaid.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health Interview Survey from June showed the number of uninsured in 2014 totaled 36 million people, or 11.5% of the U.S. population. A Gallup-Healthways survey from April pegged the uninsured rate at 11.9% for the first quarter of 2015.
However, undocumented immigrants are still not eligible to receive premium subsidies, preventing them from buying coverage on the exchanges and leaving many uninsured. And while health plans now offer first-dollar coverage for many preventive screenings, more consumers are being directed toward high-deductible plans and narrow networks that require more out-of-pocket spending. Many experts have said this simply turns the uninsured into the underinsured.