Uninsured rate remains below 10% as more choose high-deductible plans

Nearly 30 million individuals of all ages in the U.S. were uninsured during the first nine months of 2018. This figure represents a little over 9 percent of the population, and it’s similar to the uncovered headcount from 2017. Still, it’s a notable improvement from 2010, when the Affordable Care Act was nascent and 19 million more people lacked coverage.

The findings come from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), which on Feb. 27 released copious data from its annual National Health Interview Survey.

In their survey report, the NCHS researchers noted a considerable rise in the percentage of adults under 65 who had private insurance via a high-deductible health plan with a health savings account. This figure rose from 18.2 percent in 2017 to 20.6 percent in 2018.

Drilling down into coverage specifics, the team found that, of adults between 18 and 64 years old, 69 percent (136.7 million individuals) had private health insurance while 19.7 percent were on a public plan.

The privately covered cohort included 8.2 million people who purchased a plan through the federal government’s Health Insurance Marketplace or through a state-based exchange.

The uninsured rate for this segment was 13.0 percent.

Meanwhile, among children up to 17 years old, 54.1 percent had private coverage, 42.5 percent had public coverage and 4.9 percent had no coverage at all.

“A general decrease in the percentage of uninsured children was observed among the poor, near poor and not poor from 2010 through 2015,” the authors noted. “More recently, among children who were not poor, there was no significant change in the percentage who were uninsured from 2015 through the first nine months of 2018.”

This latest National Health Interview Survey incorporates participation from 61,484 people who answered for all family members in their respective households when an NCHS interviewer trained by the U.S. Census Bureau knocked on their door.

To read the full survey report, click here.