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Adults’ Uninsured Rate Falls Further, Reflecting Big Gains Under Health Reform

The share of adults without health insurance fell again to 12.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, new survey results from Gallup and Healthways show.  This is down from 13.4 percent in the previous quarter and 17.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, before health reform’s major coverage expansions — through Medicaid and subsidized marketplace coverage — took effect in January 2014.  (See chart.)  It’s also the lowest uninsured rate among adults since Gallup started collecting the survey data in 2008.

The uninsured rate fell sharply among all groups of adults in 2014, but some groups saw particularly large coverage gains.  For example, the share of African Americans without health insurance fell by a third, from 20.9 percent to 13.9 percent.  Likewise, young adults’ (ages 18 to 25) uninsured rate fell by nearly a third, from 23.5 percent to 17.4 percent. Coverage gains among Hispanics were smaller, likely reflecting continuing outreach and enrollment challenges for that group.  Hispanics’ uninsured rate fell from 38.7 percent to 32.4 percent. The new Gallup data are fully consistent with other independent surveys and federal government survey data showing significant coverage gains in 2014.