October 8, 2015
by John Walker
A new poll shows how great of an impact the Affordable Care Act has had on uninsured Americans, although not every American is as likely to feel that impact as others.
Gallup reports that the percentage of uninsured adults in the United States age 18 or older is now 11.6%, down from 17.1% at the end of 2013—just before the nation’s healthcare mandate went into effect.
The percentage of uninsured Hispanic Americans fell from 38.7% to 29.0%—the sharpest drop out of all the groups Gallup measured. The uninsured rate of black Americans also fell, from 20.9% to 13.4%.
But, looking at the data, you can see that both Hispanic and black adults in the U.S. are still less likely to be insured today than their white peers were before the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare,” took effect.
The uninsured rate of white adults in the U.S. was 11.9% in the fourth quarter of 2013. (It dropped to 7.6% in the third quarter of 2015.) That’s still 1.5% lower than the percentage of black adults who remain uninsured and 17.1% lower the percentage of Hispanic adults who are without health insurance today.
A Health Affairs Blog survey published in August found that a general unfamiliarity with health insurance companies was the greatest contributing factor towards keeping Hispanic adults from getting insured. It makes sense that groups of people who have been historically shut out of the healthcare sphere—like Hispanic and black Americans—would be less prepared than others to take advantage of the pathways to insurance the Affordable Care Act provides.