Roughly 5.4 million Americans who previously lacked health insurance have acquired coverage since the state and federal exchanges opened on Oct. 1, according to a new study conducted by the Urban Institute's Health Policy Research Center. The uninsured rate for nonelderly adults dropped to 15.2% in March, down 2.7 percentage points from September, according to the center's survey results.
The researchers found a large gap in the uninsured rate between states that have opted to expand Medicaid to adults with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level and those that have not implemented that piece of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In Medicaid expansion states, 12.4% of adults lacked coverage, compared with 18.1% in non-expansion states. Roughly half the states have opted to pursue the Medicaid expansion.
The Urban Institute study likely underestimates the number of previously uninsured individuals who have obtained coverage since Oct. 1. That's because 80% of the survey was conducted prior to the first week of March and therefore may not fully reflect the surge of enrollments that occurred leading up to the March 31 deadline.