Gallup: Uninsured health insurance rate increases slightly

By Allen Cone

April 10 (UPI) -- The percentage of U.S. adults who don't have health insurance rose slightly in the first quarter of 2017, according to a Gallup and Healthways polling.

The uninsured rate increased to 11.3 percent from 10.9 percent in each of the last two quarters of 2016 -- which at the time was a record low since coverage tracking began in 2008 by Gallup and Healthways.


The uninsured rate had reached 18 percent in the third quarter of 2013, right before the health insurance exchanges began in October 2013. In 2014, the Affordable Care Act that mandated insurance coverage went into force.

The Gallup and Healthways results are based on a random sample of interviews with 44,596 U.S. adults aged 18 and older from Jan. 1 to March 31. The margin of error is 1 percentage point.

"The slight rise in the number of uninsured Americans in the first quarter of 2017 could, in part, be attributable to the uncertainty surrounding the long-term future of the Affordable Care Act," Gallup said in a release.

Congress was unable to pass revised legislation on March 24 that replaces the ACA, also known as Obamacare.


Since 2013, the biggest decline of uninsured was adults aged 18 to 25 -- from 23.5 percent to 16.1 percent. An ACA provision allows young adults to remain on their parents' health insurance until age 26.

The rate also has declined among Hispanics and lower-income Americans. The uninsured rate among Hispanics is still the highest of any major racial or ethnic group -- 28.6 percent -- but it represents a decline of 10.1 points since the last quarter of 2013.

The uninsured rates for non-Hispanic blacks declined nearly 8 percentage points to 13.1 percent and 5 points for non-Hispanic white adults to 6.9 percent.

Among lower-income adults -- households less than $36,000 -- it has dropped nearly 9 points to 22.1 percent compared with middle-income (down 3.2 points to 8.5 percent) and high-income adults (down 2.4 points to 3.4 percent).

Gallup and Healthways looked at insurance coverage for those from 18 to 64 because most of those 65 and older receive coverage through Medicare. Those fully paying for insurance increased from 17.6 percent to 20.7 percent. Those without health insurance dropped from 20.8 percent to 13.6 percent since 2013.

For the first time, a Gallup poll released last week found a majority of Americans approve of the Affordable Care Act -- 55 percent.


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