CDC: 18.2M fewer uninsured Americans last year than in 2010

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The number of uninsured has dropped by more than 18 million since 2010. (Valeriya/Getty)

About 9.4% of the U.S. population was uninsured in 2018, according to early data from the National Center for Health Statistics’ (NCHS) annual health insurance coverage survey.

The report, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found that 30.4 million people were uninsured in 2018. While that number is not significantly different from 2017, when 29.3 million (9.1%) were uninsured, it's a stark difference from 2010 before the Affordable Care Act (ACA), officials said.

“The take-home message from this report is found in the number of Americans who no longer lack health insurance,” a CDC spokesperson told FierceHealthcare. “There are 18.2 million fewer uninsured persons than in 2010.”

In addition, there was a significant drop in uninsured adults living in Medicaid expansion states between 2013 and 2018, from 18.4% to 9.9%. By comparison, the rate of uninsured in nonexpansion states dropped from 22.7% to 17.5%.

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Here's a look at some of the other findings:

  • 13.3% of adults ages 18 to 64 were uninsured, 19.4% had public coverage and 68.9% had private health insurance in 2018. The number of uninsured children was significantly lower, around 5%, and 41.8% had public coverage while 54.7% had private coverage.
  • For adults ages 45 to 64, the rate of the uninsured increased from 9.3% to 10.3% in 2018. Overall, all adults under the age of 65, almost half of the population, 45.8%, were covered with private health insurance and enrolled in a high-deductible plan in 2018.
  • When it came to children, the report showed that 5.2% were uninsured, 41.8% had public coverage and 54.7% had private coverage in 2018. While the percentage of children with private insurance has decreased over time and public coverage has increased, the numbers have leveled off.
  • Adults ages 25 to 34 were the most likely to lack health insurance, 17%, versus older adults, 10.3%.

Looking at 2010 to 2013, the percentage of uninsured remained relatively stable, except for adults ages 18 to 24, which saw a significant reduction year over year. Another exception was among adults ages 45 to 64 between 2015 and 2018, who saw a decrease from 15.4% to 8.8% in uninsured.

The largest percentage of people under 65 were covered by private health insurance during the time of the interview, including the 10 million covered by plans obtained through the Health Insurance Marketplace of state-based exchanges. Similarly, 54.7% of children were covered by private insurance, including 1.7 million covered by plans obtained through the marketplace.

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In 2018, adults in states with a Federally Facilitated Marketplace were more likely to be uninsured than those in states with a state-based Marketplace or states with a partnership Marketplace.

The percentage of persons enrolled in a high-deductible health plan increased 20.5 percentage points, from 25.3% in 2010 to 45.8% in 2018. And the percentage of persons enrolled in a consumer-directed health plan almost tripled, from 7.7% in 2010 to 20.4% in 2018.