A new report from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) finds that the number of uninsured Americans once again fell in the early months of 2014, continuing a steady decline that began in 2010. The CDC’s survey [PDF] found that 15.2% of respondents under 65 years old were uninsured at the time they were interviewed in the first quarter of 2014, versus 16.6% in 2013 and 182.% in 2010.When respondents over the age of 65 are factored in, the 2014 uninsured rate drops to 13.1%. That isn’t just a four-year low; according to Huffington Post health care reporter Jeffrey Young, that’s the lowest the uninsured rate has gotten since the CDC began using its current methodology in 1997.
The CDC’s results track with recent private surveys of U.S. health insurance rates. The exact percentages may differ, but these studies find a consistent decline in the rate of uninsured, coinciding with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). A recent Urban Institute study [PDF] found a 22.3% drop in the adult uninsured rate between September 2013 and June of this year, bringing it from 17.9% to 13.9% of the adult population. The report concludes that “Medicaid expansion and the provision of subsidies in the new health insurance Marketplaces are likely contributing to significant increases in health insurance among nonelderly adults.”
In fact, the uninsured rate may even be lower than the CDC study indicates. Nearly half of all people to sign up on the ACA exchanges did so in the last few weeks before the registration period closed. By that time, the CDC had finished collecting data for its survey, meaning studies could find a significantly lower uninsured rate.