Uninsured rate rising in states that didn't expand Medicaid

In the first three months of this year, 8.8 percent of the U.S. population lacked health insurance, a slight decrease from the final 2016 numbers as the big gains in coverage from the Affordable Care Act appear to have ended.

The latest estimate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said 28.1 million people were uninsured, representing a “nonsignificant” decrease of 500,000 compared to the final 2016 report, where the uninsured rate was recorded at 9 percent. About 800,000 more people were reported uninsured than the first quarter 2016 report, which normally has the lowest number of uninsured than reports covering later parts of the year.

Looking more long-term, the report estimated 20.5 million people have gained insurance coverage since the ACA was signed into law in 2010.

Among adults aged 18 to 64, 12.1 percent were uninsured, 18.9 were covered under a public program and 70.5 percent had private coverage, with 4.8 percent of that population covered through plans purchased on the ACA exchanges. The share of public coverage was much higher among children 17 and younger at 42.3 percent, with 54.1 percent covered through private plans and 5.3 percent uninsured.

Adults aged 25-34 remained the most likely to be uninsured, with 17 percent lacking insurance, almost twice as much as the 8.7 percent uninsured among adults aged 45-64.

The CDC did see different changes in the uninsured rates among states which chose to expand Medicaid eligibility and those which didn’t. While the trend of uninsured rates being higher in non-expansion states hasn’t changed, the states are now heading in the opposite direction on coverage compared to expansion states. 18.4 percent of adults aged 18-64 in non-expansion states reported being uninsured, up from a low of 17.5 percent in 2015. In expansion states, however, the uninsured rate has kept falling from 9.8 percent in 2015 to 9.2 percent in 2016 to 8.6 percent in the first quarter of this year.

Like in other recent reports, high-deductible health plans continue to become more widely used. 42.3 percent of people under the age of 65 are now enrolled in a plan with an annual deductible of at least $1,300 for individual coverage or $2,600 for a family.