The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) health coverage access expansion programs helped reduce the percentage of U.S. adults who were uninsured to about 16.3 percent in the second quarter, from about 21 percent in September 2013.
Dr. Benjamin Sommers — a Harvard University health economist who advises the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — and colleagues come to that conclusion in an analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The PPACA health insurance exchange program and Medicaid expansion program may have helped 10.3 million adults get health coverage, with the actual increase ranging from between 7.3 million to 17.2 million, the researchers say. The researchers say they believe the programs also helped many children get coverage.
The researchers found the most dramatic results in the uninsured rates for adults with incomes from 139 percent to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, who were eligible for PPACA exchange plan subsidies. In states without Medicaid expansion, the uninsured rate for those middle-income adults fell to about 15.5 percent in the second quarter, from 21 percent in September — before the start of the PPACA exchange individual coverage enrollment period.
In states that used PPACA money to expand access to Medicaid for childless adults, the uninsured rate for middle-income adults fell to 9.6 percent, from 18.6 percent.