Uninsured Rate Dips in Q1

The number of Americans with no health insurance decreased to 41 million in the first 3 months of 2014, according to a new survey from the Centers for Disease Control.

The number of Americans with no health insurance decreased to 41 million in the first 3 months of 2014, according to a new survey from the Centers for Disease Control.

The CDC says the new uninsured rate was 13.1% as of March 31. The findings are reported in its National Health Interview Survey, the first-quarter results of which were released this week.

The number represents a significant drop from 2013, when 44.8 million Americans reported having no health insurance. Nearly two thirds (61.8%) of people under the age of 65 were privately insured. However, only 1.4%, or 3.4 million, got their insurance through a federal or state health insurance marketplace.

The largest shift among any age cohort came from the young adult cohort, those ages 19-25. The rate among those Americans dropped from 26.5% in 2013 to 20.9% in the first quarter of 2014.

The study found household income continues to have much to do with uninsurance rates, despite the expansion of Medicaid in 28 states. Roughly one-quarter of poor and near-poor people between the ages of 18 and 64 had no insurance. The non-poor had an uninsurance rate of 9%.

That’s not to say Medicaid expansion hasn’t had an impact on insurance coverage in the US. The uninsured rate among people ages 18-64 who live in Medicaid expansion states dropped from 18.4% to 15.7% in the first three months of 2014.

“There was no corresponding significant decrease in the percentage of uninsured in those states that have not moved forward with Medicaid expansion,” the report states.

Consequently, people in Medicaid expansion states were more likely to be on public insurance plans than those in non-expansion states.

Researchers also found differences in the effects depending on which type of marketplace a given state had. The seven states whose marketplaces are partnerships between the state and the federal government saw uninsured rates decline from 17.9% to 13.4%. States that ran their own marketplaces reported drops from 18.7% to 16.8%. States using a federally run marketplace saw the most modest drop, from 22% to 20.4%.

Regionally, the highest uninured rates were in the West South Central (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana) and the South Atlantic (the coastal states from West Virginia to Florida). The northeast quadrant of the US had the lowest uninsured rates.