Drop in America's Uninsured Largely Fueled by Rise in Medicaid Coverage

The recent drop in the number of Americans without health insurance is largely attributed to an increase in Medicaid enrollees, according to new research. Between September 2013 and early March 2014, the number of uninsured people in the United States fell by an estimated 5.4 million while the number of adults covered by Medicaid grew by an estimated 3.6 million, suggesting many previously uninsured Americans gained insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of the program.   

The report also finds that states that expanded the Medicaid program are experiencing higher gains in enrollment in public coverage programs. These states’ increases in Medicaid enrollment are leading to larger drops in the total number of people without insurance, and researchers expect that trend to continue throughout 2014 as people continue to enroll in the program.

“These early results suggest that increased Medicaid enrollment has been the biggest single component of the coverage expansion thus far,” said Katherine Hempstead of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “The fact that Medicaid expansion has been state specific will serve to increase already sizable state differences in the uninsurance rate.”

The findings come from the Urban Institute’s Health Reform Monitoring Survey, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Read the full report.

Visit RWJF’s Reform by the Numbers website.

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