CDC: Uninsured rate no longer at historic low after slight uptick


Though the uninsured rate reached a historic low at the end of the first quarter of 2016, it has actually inched up since, and decreased only marginally since the same time in 2015. 

The uninsured rate ticked up from 8.6 percent during the first three months of 2016 to 8.9 percent for the full first half of 2016, according to a study released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC reported in September that the rate at which individuals were getting coverage had slowed considerably, but the slight uptick in the latest uninsured rate means it is no longer at an all-time low--a fact the Obama administration has pointed to when arguing for the success of the Affordable Care Act.

Related: Breaking down the remaining uninsured population

The number of uninsured individuals, 28.4 million, fell by roughly 200,000 since 2015, but the CDC study authors noted that the change was “not statistically significant.” One pollster, Dan Witters from Gallup, said the market of uninsured individuals “has got to be close to tapped out,” according to the Associated Press.

And despite the large decline in the uninsured population since 2010, high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) have become much more prevalent among those who are insured. While 25.3 percent of privately insured individuals held HDHPs in 2010, the report points out that as of Q2 2016 this figure has climbed to 38.8 percent.

The study also notes that just 5.0 percent of children don’t have health coverage, which is down from 13.9 percent in 1997, but that more recently the percentage of children with health coverage is leveling off--a trend that may hold true for adults as well. 

Still, more than two-fifths of individuals in the non-elderly uninsured population could be eligible for financial assistance to obtain health coverage, FierceHealthPayer has previously reported. And residents of the 19 states that have yet to adopt Medicaid expansion programs account for about half of the remaining uninsured.