Two years after Obamacare went into effect, the percentage of Americans without coverage inched up in each of the second two quarters of 2015.
The percentage of uninsured Americans stood at 11.9 percent at year’s end, ticking up from 11.4 percent in the second quarter and 11.6 percent in the third quarter, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index released this week. Gallup projects that the rate will show a decline in the first quarter of 2016 after more consumers sign up for insurance via open enrollment.
While the rate of uninsured appears to have stalled of late, the year-over-year uninsured rate was lower in every quarter of 2015 than it was in 2014. The rate has fallen 5.2 percentage points since the fourth quarter of 2013, but Gallup warns that such high reductions may be unsustainable as the remaining uninsured are harder to reach.
The percentage of people uninsured has fallen even faster for some minorities, with the percentage of uninsured Hispanics falling 7.8 percentage points, and the rate among blacks falling 7.4 percentage points since 2013. Despite the progress, both groups have higher uninsured rates than the general population.
Among Americans making $36,000 a year or less, the uninsured rate has fallen 8.8 percentage points over the past two years.
More than 20 percent of Americans age 18 to 64 pay for their insurance entirely on their own, an increase from 17.6 percent in 2013.
A separate report released in November from WalletHub broke down insurance levels by state and found that they varied greatly. The percentage of people without health insurance actually increased slightly in Maine, while it fell 7.42 percent in Oregon.