With just weeks left before the deadline to sign up for health coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, new polling numbers find that the number of the uninsured in the country continues to fall.
The uninsured rate for Americans is down, on track to be the lowest quarterly level measured since 2008 — and it’s likely the result of PPACA.
That’s the latest word from Gallup, who found in its Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index that the rate currently stands at 15.9 percent. It was 17.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013.
See also: CBO lowers PPACA enrollment projections
“This drop could be a result of the ACA, which aims to provide healthcare coverage to more Americans through multiple provisions, including federal and state healthcare marketplaces where Americans can purchase health insurance coverage at competitive rates,” Gallup said in its analysis.
The uninsured rate for most major demographic groups dropped in 2014 so far. The percentage of uninsured Americans with an annual household income of less than $36,000 has dropped the most — by 2.8 percentage points— to 27.9 percent since the fourth quarter of 2013, while the percentage of uninsured blacks has fallen 2.6 points to 18.3 percent.
And notably, the uninsured rate among 26- to 34-year olds and 35- to 64-year olds continues to decline, now at 26.6 percent and 16.3 percent, respectively. Though the drop in the uninsured rate is among slowest for young people, it’s still progress for the administration, who has made participation in PPACA plans a priority. Experts say young people’s enrollment in the law is crucial to the success of the law.
But Hispanics, an important group, are still lagging in insurance enrollment. Hispanics remain the subgroup most likely to lack health insurance, with an uninsured rate of 37.9 percent, Gallup found.
That’s a new complication, and one the administration is aiming to fix. In recent weeks, they have been increasing their outreach to the group, encouraging them to enroll in health plans.
So far, 4 million people have enrolled in health insurance plans through PPACA’s exchanges. People have until March 31 to enroll in coverage, or pay a penalty through the law.
Gallup results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey Jan. 2-Feb. 28, with a random sample of 28,396 adults, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.