The Affordable Care Act has been a catalyst for a net increase of 16.9 million Americans gaining health insurance in the last two years via Medicaid expansion and subsidized private coverage with even more people accessing employer-sponsored plans.
A new study by the RAND Corp., which looked at a sampling of 1,600 Americans and their “transitions” to and from forms of health coverage between September 2013 and February 2015 and found 22.8 million Americans gained coverage. There were 5.9 million people who also lost coverage, leaving a net increase of 16.9 million, according to the analysis, published in the journal Health Affairs.
“The gains are not only from public marketplace and Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act but also employer-sponsored insurance,” said Katherine Carman, an economist and the study’s lead author from RAND’s Santa Monica, Calif. Office.
Even though millions of Americans gained access to expanded Medicaid benefits for poor Americans and private coverage via the public marketplaces, employer coverage is by far the largest source of insurance among Americans younger than age 65, and the ACA creates new incentives for people to take up employer policies,” Carman colleagues wrote in the report.
Whether it’s mandates that people buy coverage that is forcing some people to access insurance they opted against before or an improving economy, Carman said provisions of the health law are keeping employer-sponsored coverage an attractive option.
RAND research found that even among Americans who had their policies cancelled because they didn’t comply with the health law’s minimum benefits rules, people found coverage. Insurers including Aetna (AET), Anthem (ANTM), Cigna (CI), UnitedHealth Group (UNH), Humana (HUM) and Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans are reporting increases in individual policy sales.
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