Michael Hiltzik: Rand’s Obamacare Stats: 9.3 Million New Insureds, And Counting
The long-awaited Rand Corp. study of Obamacare’s effect on health insurance coverage was released Tuesday and confirmed the numbers that had been telegraphed for more than a week: At least 9.3 million more Americans have health insurance now than in September 2013, virtually all of them as a result of the law. That’s a net figure, accommodating all those who lost their individual health insurance because of cancellations. The Rand study confirms other surveys that placed the number of people who lost their old insurance and did not or could not replace it — the focus of an enormous volume of anti-Obamacare rhetoric — at less than 1 million. The Rand experts call this a “very small” number, less than 1% of the U.S. population age 18 to 64.
The number of people getting insurance through their employers increased by 8.2 million. Rand said the increase is likely to have been driven by a decline in unemployment, which made more people eligible for employer plans, and by the incentives in the Affordable Care Act encouraging more employer coverage. Of the 3.9 million people counted by Rand as obtaining insurance on the individual exchange market, 36% were previously uninsured. That ratio is expected to rise when the late signups are factored in. Medicaid enrollment increased by 5.9 million, the majority of whom did not have insurance before signing up.
misa (@redboneprettyny) April 02, 2014
Sergio Acevedo (@Caleones) April 04, 2014
My brother signed up on the marketplace, and my dad got new coverage despite his preexisting condition. Freundlichs! #7MillionAndCounting—
Christina Freundlich (@christinafreund) April 01, 2014
Eric Turic (@jittertwit) April 02, 2014
David Lauter: Employer Insurance Increasing As Obamacare Rolls Out, Study Finds
In addition to gains in insurance coverage as a direct result of the Affordable Care Act, the number of Americans covered by employer-provided insurance also has increased in the last year, according to newly released data from the Rand Corp. The share of Americans aged 18 to 64 who lack coverage dropped from 20.5% to 15.8% by Rand’s calculations. The 9.3-million increase in coverage, which takes into account people who lost coverage, includes people who enrolled in plans on the marketplaces, those who bought a plan directly from an insurer and those who became eligible for Medicaid. About half the states have expanded Medicaid under the law’s provisions. But the full Rand report, released Tuesday, notes that the figure also includes a significant increase in employer coverage. That increase contradicts predictions made by both opponents of the law and some of its supporters who had expected employer coverage to drop when the 2010 healthcare law took effect.
Rand researchers attribute some of the gains to the decline in unemployment over the last several months, noting that some previously uninsured people may simply have found jobs that provide insurance. In other cases, companies may have added insurance coverage in anticipation of the law’s health insurance provisions taking effect. Final, definitive, numbers on coverage, which will come from the Census Bureau, won’t be available for many months. So for now, the surveys provide the best look at how the law has changed insurance markets. While the exact numbers remain uncertain, the direction of the change is not. “Early evidence from our nationally representative survey indicates that the ACA has already led to a substantial increase in insurance coverage,” Rand concluded.