ACA increases number of people with stable health insurance coverage

More Americans are staying insured with healthcare coverage throughout the year since implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to new data.

Researchers from the Urban Institute found that the number of people going without health insurance at some time during the year has dropped significantly, based on data from the Health Reform Monitoring Survey. Adults ages 18 to 64 who maintained stable health coverage throughout the previous year increased from 69.6 percent in September 2014 to 73.9 percent in September 2015. The result since implementation of the ACA in 2013 is less "churning," where people experience periods where they are not insured and lose of continuity of coverage.

The survey also found an increase in the number of families with low and moderate incomes who reported being insured throughout the previous year. However, despite that statistic, that group was still less likely to have stable coverage throughout the year (56.6 percent) when compared to families with higher incomes (74.4 percent).

"More people are shopping around for coverage, but overall, the percent of the insured who have switched plans does not seem to be rising," Kathy Hempstead, who directs coverage issues at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said in the issue brief. "Improvements in health IT systems should reduce the impact of switching coverage on continuity of care." 

The results of the survey were backed up by other data collected by Gallup and the National Health Interview Survey, according to the researchers at the Urban Institute.

Federal health officials hope to get an additional 10.5 million uninsured Americans to enroll during the third enrollment period under the ACA that is going on now. While the ACA has lowered the overall number of uninsured, research shows the numbers vary state-by-state, with Texas having the highest rate of uninsured individuals at 19.06 percent. Although roughly 70 percent of the uninsured population is potentially eligible for insurance subsidies, one survey found that the high cost of health plans is still a barrier for many.

To learn more:
- read the research
- check the comparison of survey data