Report: Uninsured rate hangs at about 9% in first half of 2018

Individual mandate
The rate of uninsured people went down in the first nine months of 2018. (Kerkez)

In the first nine months of 2018, 29.7 million people in the U.S., or 9.2%, were without health insurance, according to the latest report from the National Center for Health Statistics.

This is about 18.9 million fewer insured people than in 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found (PDF).

Early release estimates from the 2018 National Health Interview Survey show that of the uninsured, 13% were adults and 4.9% were children. Of the covered adults, 19.7% reported having public healthcare coverage and 69% had private health insurance.

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Of the children included the study, aged 17 and under, 42.5% had public coverage and 54.1% had private coverage. 

There was a rise in adults (under the age of 65) with consumer-directed health plans, 20.6% up from 18.2% in 2017, the center found. 

RELATED: 45% of the uninsured population is out of the ACA's reach: KFF

The most likely to lack insurance in the first 9 months were adults ages 25 to 34 (17.1%) and most likely to be uninsured were adults ages 45 to 64 (9.9%). 

Looking at poverty status, the greatest decreases in the uninsured rate since 2013 were among adults who were poor or near poor, according to the report. However, there was only a small change in the percentage of people who were uninsured from 2015 through the first 9 months of 2018. Specifically, in 2018, 27% of adults who were poor, 25% of those who were near poor, and 8% of those who were not poor lacked health insurance.

By race, 26.3% of Hispanic, 14.7% of non-Hispanic black, 8.8% of non-Hispanic white, and 8.2% of non-Hispanic Asian adults lacked health insurance in the first 9 months of 2018. 

Adults in Medicaid expansion states were less likely to be uninsured than those living in non-expansion states in 2018. In expansion states, the number of uninsured adults decreased from 18.4% in 2013 to 9.6% in 2018. 

RELATED: Undocumented immigrants far more likely to be uninsured: KFF

In the same period, 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.

Finally, the survey notes that 45.6% of people with private health insurance were enrolled in a high deductible health plan (HDHP), including 20.6% who were enrolled in a consumer-directed health plan and 25% who were enrolled in an HDHP without a health savings account. 

“I think the take-home message from this report is found in the number of Americans who no longer lack health insurance,” lead author and health statistician Emily P. Terlizzi, said in a Q&A on the National Center for Health Statistics blog.

However, a survey recently conducted by the Commonwealth Fund noted that about 12% of Americans were uninsured in by the close of 2018—similar to the rate 2016—the rate of those considered underinsured has gone up.  

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