A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services shows that the number of Americans without health insurance coverage dropped to a record low of 8% this year, beating the prior low of 9% in 2016.
The uninsured rate decreased throughout the course of 2021 and early 2022. Over five million people have gained coverage since 2020, including four million adults and 1 million children.
“Every American deserves an affordable, quality health care system,” said President Joe Biden in a statement.
“There is no need to worry whether you will be able to pay your rent or pay your doctor,” he said.
According to The Associated Press, the announcement comes a few days after Democrats signed a 725-page agreement on climate, health care, and taxes that would extend federal subsidies to people who buy private health insurance, reducing uninsured rates. The Democratic party has proposed $64 billion worth of rebate coupons to offer at 3% less for the next 3 years.
The Affordable Care Act has enrolled more than 35 million Americans in coverage, the highest number ever. This includes 21 million people in the expanded Medicaid program created by the act.
Due to the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which offered various coronavirus relief measures, including a provision that lowered premiums and out-of-pocket costs for new or returning customers who bought health insurance plans through markets related to the Affordable Care Act, the uninsured rate declined.
Uninsured rates went down to 9% in 2021 with the subsidies. Obama’s administration increased advertising and also the number of counselors who helped people sign up for health insurance during the open enrollment season last year, according to the AP. However, when open enrollment closed, the rate dropped to 8% this year.
The rate of uninsured adults dropped from 14.5% in late 2020 to 11.8% in early 2022. In early 2022, the rate among children, which had risen in both 2019 and 2020, fell from 6.4% to 3.7%.
The changes in the uninsured rates between 2020 and 2022 were most profound among those with incomes below 100% of the federal poverty level and those with incomes between 200% and 400% of the federal poverty level.
For decades, before 2021, the uninsured rate was still in the double digits, the AP reported. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act took effect and helped reduce this number, particularly through the expansion of Medicaid and medical coverage for those without a job-based insurance plan.
26 million Americans are still uninsured, which is 2% of children who have no coverage, the report just released.
According to the Health and Human Services secretary, Xavier Becerra, “We know that access to quality, affordable health care is key to healthier lives, economic security, and peace of mind.”
“The Department of Health and Human Services will continue to protect, expand, and strengthen the programs that provide quality, affordable health care to the American people,” he said.