Gallup Healthcare Poll: Uninsured Rate at Lowest in 6 Years

Monday, 05 May 2014 06:22 PM

By Jason Devaney

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On the heels of the Obamacare rollout and the more than 8 million people who signed up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act, the estimated rate of uninsured adults in the United States dropped to 13.4 percent in April, down from 15 percent in March.

According to a Gallup-Healthways survey, the April rate was the lowest since Gallup and Healthways started tracking the statistic in January 2008. The previous low was 13.9 percent, recorded in September of that year.

The uninsured rate maxed out at 18 percent last fall but has been on a steady decline since.

The Obamacare health insurance exchanges opened for business last October and the deadline to get coverage for 2014 was March 31, although that date was extended to April 19.

Gallup-Healthways noted that the April figure of 13.4 percent is an estimate based on the number of people who have signed up this year, including those who added coverage after the initial March 31 deadline. Almost 15,000 Americans were surveyed via telephone.

The results also show that the rate of uninsured African Americans dropped more than any other demographic, falling 7.1 points to 13.8 percent. Hispanics, a group the Obama administration hoped would see a big drop in numbers, saw only a 5.5 point decrease in the number of uninsured from 2013, to 33.2 percent. No key demographic group has a higher uninsured rate, Gallup says.

Since the fourth quarter of 2013, the rate of uninsured lower-income Americans, or those with an annual household income of less than $36,000, has plummeted by 5.5 points to 25.2 percent. For adults ages 18 to 25, the rate fell by 4.5 percentage points.

The Obama administration has said that more than 8 million people signed up for healthcare through the exchanges.

Critics of the law have challenged that figure on several fronts, including the fact that not everyone has paid his premium. One report said that just 2.5 million people had paid for their plans by April 15.

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