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Uninsurance Rates to Drop Significantly for All Races/Ethnicities under ACA; Coverage Differences with Whites to Narrow
12/20/2014 1:30:37 PM

WASHINGTON, DC -- The ranks of the uninsured among Latinos, blacks, Asians/Pacific Islanders, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and whites will drop 39 to 52 percent by 2016, the Urban Institute projects. Differences in uninsurance rates between whites and the other groups will decrease substantially.

The first state-level examination of how five major racial and ethnic groups will fare under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the study also projects coverage effects for the 11 largest Latino groups by origin, the 5 largest Asian/Pacific Islander groups by origin, and the 9 largest American Indian/Alaska Native tribes.

Whites’ uninsurance rate, given states’ current Medicaid expansion decisions, will drop 51.6 percent, bringing coverage to 11.1 million people. The uninsurance rate for American Indians/Alaska Natives will fall 49.5 percent: 633,000 will gain coverage. The rate for Asians/Pacific Islanders will decline 48.2 percent, boosting coverage by 1.3 million. Black uninsurance will decrease 42.3 percent, adding 2.9 million people to insurance rolls. For Latinos, the uninsurance rate will be cut 39.2 percent: 6.6 million will gain coverage.

The Latino–white uninsurance rate difference will drop from 18.1 percentage points to 12.7 percentage points. The Asian/Pacific Islander–white difference will narrow from 4.2 percentage points to 2.6 percentage points. The American Indian/Alaska Native–white difference will slide from 12.6 percentage points to 6.7 percentage points. The black–white difference is projected to move from 6.5 percentage points to 5.0 percentage points.

If all states were to expand Medicaid, additional uninsurance rate reductions are projected to be especially dramatic for blacks, because over half live in states not expanding Medicaid in 2014.

The report

  • identifies the states with the greatest potential coverage gains for each group;
  • projects uninsurance rate reductions for Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native subgroups; and
  • provides state-by-state uninsurance statistics, as well as estimated reductions by race/ethnicity under the ACA with states’ current Medicaid expansion decisions and with Medicaid expansion in all states.

Racial/Ethnic Differences in Uninsurance Rates under the ACA” is written by Lisa Clemans-Cope, Genevieve Kenney, Matthew Buettgens, and Hannah Recht. It is a publication of the Urban Institute’s Low-Income Working Families project, which is funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

A related blog post uses a national map and graphics for the St. Louis and Washington, DC, areas to demonstrate how where one lives is important for low-income individuals without health insurance.

In early January, the Urban Institute will release a study on Hispanics and the ACA that pays significant attention to the effect of undocumented immigrants on coverage rates.


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