New U.S. Census Data on the Uninsured Underscores Need for Expanded Coverage

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<p>Two weeks from the launch of the Affordable Care Act's new state insurance marketplaces, new data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau  show that 48 million Americans lacked health insurance in 2012. The percentage of Americans without health insurance declined slightly, from 15.7 percent in 2011 to 15.4 percent. </p><p>In a <a href="/blog/2013/new-us-census-data-uninsured-underscores-need-expanded-coverage">new blog post,</a> The Commonwealth Fund's Sara R. Collins, Ph.D., David Blumenthal, M.D., and Tracy Garber explain that the early provisions of the Affordable Care Act—most notably the option, since 2010, for young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance policies—have helped turn the tide in the decade-long growth of the uninsured. Increases in the percentage of people covered through Medicare and Medicaid have also helped to stabilize the uninsured rate. </p>
<p>But the lack of marked improvement in 2012 underscores the need for the coverage provisions at the heart of the reform law, which will provide millions of Americans without health insurance new opportunities for affordable insurance beginning in January 2014. </p>
<p>"The gains in coverage made by young adults is a preview of the sweeping changes we will see after the state insurance marketplaces and Medicaid expansions go into effect just three-and-one-half months from now," the authors say. "Full state participation in the Affordable Care Act would ensure that that all citizens fully benefit from the protections available under the law."</p>