The downward trend of uninsured, which hit record lows in the thirdand fourth quarters of 2016, has reversed, and climbed in the thirdquarter of 2017 to 12.3 percent.

|

A Gallup/Sharecare measure of the uninsured rate, conducted since2008, had hit a record low of 10.9 percent in the second half of2016, after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act’smandated healthcare exchanges and the associatedrequirement that all adults have health insurance or be subject toa fine—those went into effect in 2014, and saw Medicaid expansionin 31 states between the beginning of that year and July of2016.

|

Related: 5 states with lowest, highest uninsuredrates

|

However, since the Trump administration took office, theuninsured rate has risen 1.4 points, 0.6 percent from the previousquarter alone. While it is still “well below” its peak of 18.0percent, measured in the third quarter of 2013, the report cites anumber of potential causes for the increase.

|

Not only have some insurers stopped offering insurance throughthe exchanges, with the corresponding lack of competition likelydriving up the cost of plans for consumers, that could be shuttingsome out of the market—especially those who fail to qualify forfederal subsidies. In addition, there’s the uncertainty about thehealthcare law itself, as the current administration takes steps tocut both access and funding—in addition to failing to enforce thepenalty for not having insurance.

|

Key demographic groups are seeing a rise in their uninsuredrates, which has increased at least one point among all keydemographic subgroups since late 2016, except for those aged 65 andolder. Those losing coverage are mostly among middle-agedAmericans, racial minorities and lower-income Americans. Theuninsured rate has risen by 1.8 points among those aged 35–64,compared with slightly smaller increases among younger (18–34)adults.

|

qAmong black and Hispanic adults, the rate has risen by 1.5 and1.6 points, respectively, since the end of 2016. At the same time,the uninsured rate among non-Hispanic whites increased by 1.1points. While the uninsured rate among high-income adults hasincreased by 1.1 points, lower-income and middle-income adults haveseen comparatively larger increases in their uninsured rates since2016, at +1.7 and +1.3 points, respectively.

|

Insurance purchased on the exchanges by those who pay for theirown coverage has seen the biggest drop in 2017, falling by 1.3points, from 21.3 percent to 20.0 percent. It had been thefastest-growing type of coverage since the individual mandate tookeffect in Q3 2013; between then and 2016 growing by 3.7percent.

|

The next largest change is among those with coverage underMedicare, which has fallen 0.5 points since 2016.

|

According to the study, it’s expected that unless the governmentintervenes to stabilize the marketplaces, coverage will continue tofall and premiums to rise; however, Trump has said in a pressconference that health care legislation won’t be back on the agendatill the beginning, or even the middle, of next year.

|

The cancellation of cost-sharing payments alone, which helplower-income Americans, is expected by the Congressional BudgetOffice to cause premiums 20 percent higher in 2018 for the ACA’spopular “silver plans” and 25 percent higher premiums by 2020.

|

Some states are being hit particularly hard, with Pennsylvania’sacting insurance commissioner announcing that rates in that statewill increase by an average of 30 percent in 2018 after an initialprojected increase of 8 percent prior to the cancellation of thecost-sharing payments.

|

And Trump has personally intervened against approving Iowa’srequest to the Department of Health and Human Services to waivesome ACA rules that would stabilize the individual insurance marketin that state. That intervention, despite the state’s twoRepublican senators pleading on behalf of the state, could cause a56 percent increase in premium cost, according to Iowa’s Republicangovernor.

|

And in the previous week, the Trump administration missed thedeadline to approve a similar waiver request by Oklahoma’s healthcommissioner, whose own state is facing 30 percent premium costhikes in 2018.

|

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.