WASHINGTON, DC – August 3, 2022 – On August 2, 2022, The Department of Health and Human Services said that the number of U.S. residents without health insurance was at an all-time low at 8%. More than 5 million people have gained health insurance since 2020. That same day, President Biden said, “Every American has the right to the peace of mind that comes with access to affordable, quality health care.”
Reductions in the uninsured rate after the full implementation of the ACA in 2014 has been shown to improve health outcomes, provide better access to medical care and improved financial security for families.
Historically, the uninsured rate had been more than 10% for years until the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 lowered it from 16% to 9%. The number of uninsured people rose to just above 10% in 2019 during the Trump administration as Republicans repeatedly tried to repeal the ACA. They succeeded in rolling back some of the coverage gains by making it difficult to enroll.
The coronavirus pandemic, which began in 2020, became the stressor that pushed the importance of access to health care. Congress granted more money for Medicaid as part of the early COVID Relief Package stipulating that no person can lose their Medicaid health insurance during the public health emergency (known as the continuous enrollment provision). Utah, Idaho, Nebraska and Missouri expanded Medicaid in response to new federal financial inducements.
A number of factors over the past year reduced the uninsured rate to below 9%. The American Rescue Plan’s Marketplace subsidies lowered premiums and out-of-pocket costs. The Biden-Harris Administration expanded advertising and increased the number of counselors who helped sign up eligible people for the Marketplace plans. This resulted in 2 million more enrollees.
The number of U.S. residents without health insurance is likely to rise in the near future. The Medicaid continuous coverage requirements will end once the coronavirus public health emergency designation expires. This will result in millions of people (including millions of children) potentially losing their health insurance and access to medical care. With the expiration of the Marketplace subsidies at the end of this year, millions of Americans may not be able to afford health insurance.
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Contact: Dick Needleman, Health reporter, 103.3 AshevilleFM, email@example.com