The Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey measures access to affordable health care over time.
Biennial Health Insurance Surveys
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the U.S. had 30 million uninsured people and more than 40 million who were underinsured. According to the Commonwealth Fund’s latest Biennial Health Insurance Survey, more than 43 percent of working-age adults were inadequately insured in the first half of 2020.
The 2018 Commonwealth Fund Biennial Survey, taking a big-picture look at health insurance coverage in America eight years after passage of the Affordable Care Act, finds that the uninsured rate among adults ages 19 to 64 for 2018 was 12.4 percent, statistically unchanged from 2016 — despite actions taken by the Trump administration and Congress to weaken the Affordable Care Act. Since 2010, more people have health insurance, the survey finds, but a higher share of U.S. adults are “underinsured,” meaning they have high health plan deductibles and out-of-pocket medical expenses relative to their income.
This issue brief focuses on how well health insurance protects people from medical costs, using a measure of “underinsurance” from the Commonwealth Fund’s Biennial Health Insurance Survey to examine trends from 2003 to 2016.
Analysis of the Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey, 2016, finds that there have been dramatic improvements in people's ability to buy health plans on their own following the passage of the ACA. For lower-income families, uninsured rates dropped about 17 percentage points below their 2010 peak.
According to the latest findings from the Biennial Health Insurance Survey, the percentage of people who shopped for insurance on their own who could not find an affordable plan dropped from 60 percent in 2010 to 34 percent in 2016. Among those with health problems, 70 percent said they had trouble finding an affordable plan in 2010, compared to 42 percent in 2016.