A survey released earlier this year shows that many initial problems associated with a lack of health care coverage before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are starting to improve. As a result, even as some issues remain, more Americans are able to obtain and afford the care they need.
Among the report’s key findings:
- For the first time since 2003, the number of working-age adults who failed to get needed care because of cost declined. The number of uninsured dropped from 80 million in 2012 to 66 million in 2014.
- For the first time since 2005, the number of adults reporting medical bill problems declined—from 75 million in 2012 to 64 million two years later.
- Among working age adults, the number of uninsured declined from 37 million in 2010 to 29 million in 2014, representing the first statistically significant decline since the survey began in 2001.
- The age group with the steepest gains in coverage was between ages 19 and 34. The rate of uninsured in this group dropped from 27 percent in 2010 to 19 percent in 2014—largely because of the ACA provision which took effect in 2010, allowing children to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26.
- Insurance coverage among low-income Americans (those with incomes below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level) increased significantly. Although Florida was not among the states accepting federal Medicaid expansion funds, the national rate of uninsured in this income group fell from 36 percent in 2010 to 24 percent in 2014.
Despite these improvements, the survey reported that most without insurance continue to experience problems paying for medical care. Among the uninsured, which includes low-income patients in states that, like Florida, declined federal Medicaid expansion funds, 57 percent avoided getting care they needed because of the cost; 51 percent reported having problems paying medical bills.