Nation Saw Gains in Health Coverage for Racial and Ethnic Groups under Affordable Care Act
September 10, 2019
A recently released Commonwealth Fund data brief demonstrates that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has led to reductions in racial and ethnic disparities in health coverage rates. The report analyzed findings from the U.S. Census Bureau’s nationally representative American Community Survey to report on the most recent trends in insurance coverage broken down by poverty level and by race.
Key findings from the report include:
- The proportion of nonelderly adults lacking health insurance fell from 20.5 percent during 2013 to 12.3 percent during 2017, a decline of 40 percent
- All racial and ethnic groups saw gains in health coverage between 2013 and 2016
- The gains are most pronounced for minority groups and individuals with incomes below 139 percent of the federal poverty level
- During 2017, gains for minority groups flattened
According to the brief, data demonstrates that the gaps in insurance coverage among racial and ethnic groups narrowed the most in states that expanded Medicaid.
Uninsured rates in states that expanded Medicaid eligibility fell 49 percent, compared with 27 percent in nonexpansion states. The most significant reductions in uninsured rates occurred among Hispanic, black, and lower-income, nonelderly adults in Medicaid expansion states.
Racial and ethnic disparities highlight differences in access to quality health services. Lack of insurance coverage limits access to services. The elimination of disparities in insurance coverage is an important step toward improved quality of life and lower health care costs over time.
HAP continues to support all efforts that promote access to affordable, comprehensive, health insurance coverage to as many people as possible.
If you have any questions relating to this issue please contact Jolene Calla, HAP’s vice president, health care finance and insurance, or Robert Shipp, HAP’s vice president, quality and population health.