Half of the Uninsured are Eligible for ACA Coverage

By Jordan Messner, Graduate Research Intern, Georgetown University Center for Children and Families

The Kaiser Family Foundation published a report on October 13 examining the uninsured population in the United States and their options for coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The report found that although 32.3 million nonelderly people were uninsured at the beginning of 2015, 49% of these individuals (15.7 million) are eligible for coverage through Medicaid or premium subsidies to purchase Marketplace coverage.

As for the uninsured that are not eligible for coverage or assistance under the ACA, 3.1 million people fall into the coverage gap in the 20 states that decided not to expand Medicaid. Of course, this is not an issue in expansion states, but in non-expansion states, 19% of the uninsured are in the coverage gap.

Other uninsured individuals that are not eligible for coverage under the ACA include undocumented immigrants, people who have an offer of employer sponsored coverage and those with incomes over 400% of the federal poverty level and are ineligible for subsidies in the Marketplace.

In terms of children’s coverage, 10% of the uninsured population consists of 3.2 million children who are already eligible for Medicaid or CHIP. Prior to the ACA, all states expanded public coverage to low-income children, with a median eligibility level of 255% of the federal poverty level in 2015.

In order to ensure that this vulnerable population receives the coverage they are entitled to, outreach and education efforts are imperative. Furthermore, if non-expansion states decide to expand Medicaid, children whose parents become eligible will be more likely to also enroll in the public coverage that they are currently eligible for.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Georgetown University Center for Children and Families’ Say Ahhh! blog.

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The opinions expressed here are solely those of the individual blog post authors and do not represent the views of Georgetown University, the Center on Health Insurance Reforms, any organization that the author is affiliated with, or the opinions of any other author who publishes on this blog.