Nearly 50 percent of the non-elderly uninsured American population qualifies for Medicaid or some other subsidized form of healthcare coverage through the Affordable Care Act, according to a new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
With ACA marketplace open enrollment less than three weeks away, nearly 15.7 million of the 32.3 million Americans who were not insured at the beginning of 2015 will be eligible for Medicaid or other assistance. But with barriers such as immigration status or lack of Medicaid expansion in their state, some of these 15.7 million people will not be able to enroll.
In addition to enrolling new customers, the ACA marketplaces have struggled to retain enrollees, as some customers drop out due to trouble affording their health plan or understanding what their coverage requires of them.
California, Texas, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania account for 40 percent of the uninsured population that could receive Medicaid or private insurance benefits, according to the analysis. Of those five states, neither Texas nor Florida have expanded Medicaid; by doing so, they could provide approximately 1.3 million people with coverage.
Additionally, 10 percent of the uninsured, or 3.1 million people, fall into the gap in which they earn too much to be considered for Medicaid, but they don't earn enough to qualify for ACA financial assistance. This gap is most prevalent in the 20 states that have opted to not expand Medicaid coverage, the analysis notes.
Given the results, the researchers remain both optimistic and wary for the future of ACA.
"As the beginning of open enrollment for 2016 marketplace coverage approaches, there are still substantial opportunities to increase coverage by reaching those who are eligible for help under the ACA," the researchers write. "But the breakdown of who the remaining uninsured are suggests that many may be difficult to reach and will still remain uninsured."