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Obamacare's big winners: Young adults, Latinos, poor

Those groups had the hardest time affording health insurance before the Affordable Care Act took effect.

By Money Staff Jul 10, 2014 11:32AM

This post comes from Dan Mangan at partner site CNBC.


CNBC on MSN MoneyThree groups that long had the toughest time affording health insurance were the biggest beneficiaries of Obamacare's goal of reducing the number of people without coverage, a new survey shows.


Blood pressure © Photodisc, SuperStockThe Commonwealth Fund survey found that those groups—young adults, Latinos and the poor—saw larger drops in their uninsured rates after the launch of Obamacare than any other group.


The uninsured rate for people age 19 to 34 years old fell from 28 percent last summer to 18 percent as of June—meaning there were 5.7 million fewer uninsured young adults.


That age group's 10-percent drop contrasts with the 3-percent drop seen by each of the two older age groups broken out by the survey.


The uninsured rate among Latinos fell from 36 percent to 23 percent, a much bigger drop than the four-point decrease seen among whites and the 1-point drop among blacks, according to the Commonwealth Fund.


And the uninsured rate of people earning less than 2.5 times the federal poverty level fell by about 10 percent, significantly outpacing groups who earn more money, according to the private foundation, which specializes in health-care research.


But the number of poor people who lacked insurance was essentially unchanged in the 25 states that had had not expanded eligibility for government-run Medicaid coverage by April, according to the survey.

Courtesy CNBC

And those non-expansion states ended up with much higher percentages of uninsured poor people than in the non-expansion states.


Nationally, the rate of working-age adults without health coverage dropped from 20 percent last year to 15 percent as of June, the report found.


"Twenty million Americans have gained new coverage under law," said Commonwealth Fund President Dr. David Blumenthal.


And the survey also found that the majority of those who were newly covered either by Obamacare insurance plans or Medicaid said both that they are optimistic about that coverage getting care they need, and that they had already used it to visit a medical provider or fill a prescription.


Sixty percent of the newly covered had gone to a doctor or hospital or filled their prescription as of June, and 62 percent said they wouldn't have been able to pay for or access such care before getting that new coverage.

Courtesy CNBC

Slightly more than half of the respondents said their new insurance plan included all or some of the doctors they desired. Fifty-eight percent of the newly covered said they were better off than before they got that coverage.


Commonwealth Fund Vice President Sara Collins, lead researcher on the survey that questioned more than 4,425 people between the ages of 19 and 64, said the report is the first to examine both trends in coverage due to Obamacare and how people have used their new insurance.


"The findings suggest that the Affordable Care Act is beginning to achieve its central goal—reducing the number of Americans who are uninsured, and improving access to health care," Collins said. "Adults who are being helped the most are those who historically have had the greatest difficulty affording health insurance and getting the care they need."


The ACA, which mandates that most Americans have some form of health coverage or pay a penalty, has two primary tools to help millions of uninsured people afford such coverage.


This first is the federal subsidy, or tax credit, available to many low- and middle-income people to help them buy insurance plans sold on government-run Obamacare exchanges, which opened for business last fall.

Courtesy CNBC

The second is the expansion of Medicaid eligibility requirements to allow most poor people to be covered by that program. While the ACA originally mandated that all states expand Medicaid, which they jointly run with the federal government, a 2012 Supreme Court decision left it up to individual states to decide whether to expand or not.


The report found that 63 percent of people who since last summer had obtained health coverage through the new Obamacare exchanges or via Medicaid were previously uninsured.


The expansion of Medicaid benefits as well the phenomenon of previously eligible people enrolling in new coverage for the first time, significantly lowered the uninsured rate among the poor, the survey found.


As of last summer, 33 percent of people who earn less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level, or $11,670 annually for an individual, were uninsured. That had fallen to 26 percent as of June, according to the survey.


But most, if not all of that decrease came in the 25 states and the District of Columbia that had expanded Medicaid eligibility by April.


In those states and D.C., the uninsured rate among those poor people fell from 28 percent to 17 percent.


In the so-called non-expansion states, which started from a much higher uninsured rate of 38 percent for those poor people last summer, the rate fell to 36 percent. But that was a statistically insignificant decrease, the survey's authors said.

Courtesy CNBC

The effect of states not expanding was dramatically illustrated by the case of Texas, whose governor is hostile to Obamacare altogether.


The Long Star State, which at 34 percent had the highest uninsured rate in the nation as of last summer, saw a very big drop in that rate, down to 22 percent. But Texas, and Florida, another non-expansion state, still have the highest uninsured rates of any large state.


In contrast, California, which expanded Medicaid and enthusiastically embraced Obamacare, saw its uninsured rate among working-age adults plummet from 22 percent to 11 percent.


The Commonwealth Fund survey came on the heels of a report by WalletHub that looked at uninsured rates of individual states.


The WalletHub report found that the states with the lowest uninsured rated were overwhelmingly "blue states"—ones lead by Democrats who embraced Obamacare through running their own insurance exchange and expanding Medicaid. The highest uninsured rates tended to be seen in "red states," lead by Republicans and hostile to Obamacare.


WalletHub noted that "nearly 1 in 4 Texans lack health insurance ... compared to just 1 in 100 residents in Massachusetts," which had the lowest rate of uninsured people in the nation.


More from CNBC

1263Comments
Jul 10, 2014 12:28PM
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Those groups are also the groups with the subsidies and effectively they are getting their insurance for no cost to themselves, My tax dollars and insurance increases are paying for it.
Jul 10, 2014 12:46PM
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WELFARE, FOOD STAMPS , HOUSING SUBSIDIES,  And  FREE HEALTHCARE

I cannot qualify for any of these , but as a business owner i am paying for them. along with my employees


Jul 10, 2014 12:34PM
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Some plan!! 320 million of us have to suffer so 6 million can get health insurance.
Jul 10, 2014 1:06PM
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Biggest Obamacare losers?  The middle class.  The very group that was lied to repeatedly in every presidential debate but still re-elected him anyway.  What are all of you going to buy with that $2,500 of annual healthcare savings that was promised?
Jul 10, 2014 12:41PM
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Of course all the winners are the dregs of society who live off the rest of us.
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Stay right here, don't go anywhere, I'm going to list all the things that benefited me during Obama's tenure as President...........................................................................................................................

...........................................................................................................................................................
............................................................................................................................................................

.....................one moment....................................................................................................................

.............................................................................................................................................................

.............................................................................................................................................................

...............................................................sorry, I got nothin.

Jul 10, 2014 1:16PM
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Woohooo - any fool can walk down the sidewalk dropping $100 bills of other peoples money and get people to follow behind him.  

What a success story.

Obama can't convince anyone to adopt is ideas except those that can be bought.   

Six years a "lame duck" president.  No leadership capabilities.  Total divisive.
Jul 10, 2014 1:39PM
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No one wins under this president....he makes the poor more dependent and the taxpayers more burden to pay the poor's way. 
Jul 10, 2014 1:07PM
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Welcome to the United Socialist States of Amerika
Jul 10, 2014 1:32PM
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All at the expense of the American taxpayer.

Jul 10, 2014 1:28PM
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I like how they put Medicaid in with this article. Medicaid is not health insurance, it is free healthcare for the low income. They pay no co-pays, co-insurance, or anything out of pocket. This type syestem is why healthcare is expensive. They have no reason to look after themselves as they have no "skin in the game".
Jul 10, 2014 1:15PM
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the big winners are people scamming the system , anyone working for the government as we pay for theirs and those sitting back looking for handouts  all while we have to wok more to make ends meet while obama and hit nutty taxes , regulations and laws force redistribution of our money to others.  the law sucks  and those who voted for this should be removed from office.  lets start this november by removing them from the senate starting with the nut care  good old harry then elect someone in 2016 who has experince and knowledge on how to run something other than their mouth
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Let this be a lesson for all you who voted for pie-in-the-sky liberal drivel.

 

Everything they say sounds good on paper but fails miserably when subjected to real life situations, remember that!  It will always fail, sooner or later.

Jul 10, 2014 1:41PM
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Though we have a small husband/wife owned business, for 16 years now, under the new "Affordable Health Care" we are no longer considered a small business because we do not employ an unrelated 3d party that we issue a W2 to. This means our same health insurance with the same company increased drastically not only in the monthly premium but also in all co-pays. There are only 2 of us covered, yet Kaiser now charges us over $1,700 a month just for the premium!
....not looking for sympathy, just stating a  fact that new Healthcare Plan is not a benefit for everyone.
Jul 10, 2014 1:48PM
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I'm a SINGLE MAN who got canceled in CA due to the ACA mandate.  Now I pay for Pregnancy Care, Well Child Care, and Pediatric Dental Care - none of which I will ever use.  My premium's went up over 20% and my copays and deductables TRIPLED from $2,000 to $6,300.  Feel like I got married, had kids, got divorced and now I'm paying alimony and child support.
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So now a black man made it to the White House, we've seen what he can and can't do............can we finally get serious as a nation and move on to more important issues other than kowtowing to said minority?

Jul 10, 2014 1:31PM
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They still got care, usually free.  What is different other than the rest of us pay even more now.  We paid for thier free care then, but it costs more now. And Obamacare is the precedent for forced purchases.  Orrcare is also a forced purchase auto insurance plan.  I agree with mandatory auto insurance but not for a parked car awaiting repairs.  The govenment of the US says we should not discriminate.  The US government is, in my opinion, the biggest discriminator in the country.
Jul 10, 2014 1:37PM
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Government is afraid of the young and the restless.  They don't have a job and can protest on a moment's notice.  They will riot, burn and destroy.  The govenment knows that and is afraid of them.  Therefore, they cater to those.  The working people can't protest.  They go to work.  Somethng has to change if this country ever gets any better.
Jul 10, 2014 1:41PM
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They are saying ObamaCare may still get shut down because it will cost over "One Trillion in Subsidies" - and it will probably be a lot more than that - we all the Dem's math sucks and is often biased/wrong.
Jul 10, 2014 1:49PM
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Saw this the other day...................."Obama Care only works for those that don't".  How appropriate.
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