Findings from the Commonwealth Fund Affordable Care Act Tracking Survey, February–March 2018
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
About 4 million working-age people have lost insurance coverage since 2016
The uninsured rates among lower-income adults rose from 20.9 percent in 2016 to 25.7 percent in March 2018
The marked gains in health insurance coverage made since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 are beginning to reverse, according to new findings from the latest Commonwealth Fund ACA Tracking Survey. The coverage declines are likely the result of two major factors: 1) lack of federal legislative actions to improve specific weaknesses in the ACA and 2) actions by the current administration that have exacerbated those weaknesses. These include the administration’s deep cuts in advertising and outreach during the marketplace open-enrollment periods, a shorter open enrollment period, and other actions that collectively may have left people with a general sense of confusion about the status of the law. Signs point to further erosion of insurance coverage in 2019: the repeal of the individual mandate penalty included in the 2017 tax law, recent actions to increase the availability of insurance policies that don’t comply with ACA minimum benefit standards, and support for Medicaid work requirements.
In this post, and another soon to follow, we will look at people’s recent experiences with their insurance coverage and the affordability of their health insurance and health care.1 The ACA Tracking Survey is a nationally representative telephone survey conducted by SSRS that tracks coverage rates among 19-to-64-year-olds and has focused in particular on the experiences of adults who have gained coverage through the marketplaces and Medicaid. The latest wave of the survey was conducted between February and March 2018. Forthcoming results from large federal surveys like the National Health Interview Survey will shed more light on the trends our survey has identified.2
Uninsured Rate Among Working-Age Adults Is Up Significantly Since 2016
The uninsured rate among working-age people — that is, those who are between 19 and 64 — is at 15.5 percent, up from 12.7 percent in 2016, meaning an estimated 4 million people lost coverage (Tables 1 and 2). Rates were up significantly compared with 2016 among adults with lower incomes — those living in households earning less than 250 percent of poverty (about $30,000 for an individual and $61,000 for a family of four).