Newly released data from Gallup-Healthways shows the share of Americans without health coverage dropped below 13% at the end of 2014, a noticeable fall from just a year earlier and a clear sign that one of Obamacare’s primary goals is succeeding.
The Gallup-Healthways data is based on more than 43,000 interviews conducted between Oct. 1 and Dec. 30. It shows that in the fourth quarter of 2014, just 12.9 percent of Americans were uninsured, a substantial drop from a high of 18.0% in 2013. This change was almost entirely due to the Affordable Care Act’s new policies such as expanding Medicare, proving subsidies for low income individuals, extending the age of young adults to 26, eliminating premium fees for medical conditions and more.
“The Affordable Care Act has accomplished one of its goals: increasing the percentage of Americans who have health insurance coverage,” the Gallup report states. “The uninsured rate as measured by Gallup has dropped 4.2 points since the requirement to have health insurance or pay a fine went into effect. It will likely drop further as plans purchased during the current open enrollment period take effect.”
The new data shows improvements in all segments of the working-age population with the largest improvement being among young adults age 18-25, minority groups, and low income individuals earning under $36,000 per year.
The second open enrollment period for Obamacare runs November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015 and as of late December, 6.4 million people had enrolled into plan 2015, exceeding the white house administration’s goals. Another 10 million more people are covered by Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), two joint federal-state benefits for low-income households.
The next major deadline to enroll is next week, January 15, where consumers can sign up to ensure they have coverage by February 1st. Any Americans that don’t enroll in an ACA-compliant health insurance policy by the end of open enrollment will face a fine of $325 per adult, or 2% of their taxable income.