The uninsured rate in the U.S. has plunged to 13.4% in the second quarter of 2014, the lowest-ever rate recorded by Gallup in more than six years of polling.
The previous low point was 14.4% in the third quarter of 2008. Overall, the uninsured rate has plunged 3.7 percentage points since the fourth quarter of last year, when it averaged 17.1%.
The drop in the uninsured rate is due to a couple of factors: A slightly improving economy and, more importantly, the rush of sign-ups for new plans at the end of the Affordable Care Act’s first open-enrollment period.
The Obama administration said more than 8 million people signed up for private plans through exchanges established by the law. And recent studies put the combined total of people who have gained coverage through private plans and through the law’s expansion of Medicaid around 9.5 million.
Here’s a chart from Gallup showing the sharp plunge in the uninsured rate, which coincides with the most significant expansion in health insurance coverage since the advent of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965:
At this point, the evidence is overwhelming that the Affordable Care Act has succeeded at one of its main goals. As Larry Levitt, the senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, pointed out on Thursday, at least four different studies have displayed similar findings.
“The uninsured rate has decreased sharply since the Affordable Care Act’s requirement for most Americans to have health insurance went into effect at the beginning of 2014,” Gallup’s Jenna Levy wrote.
“The decline in the uninsured rate last quarter took place at the start of the quarter. The drop reflected a surge of health plan enrollees in early April, prior to the April 15 extended enrollment deadline for people who had previously experienced technical difficulties with the federal healthcare exchange website.”
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