ACA reduced care access disparities, but progress has stalled, analysis finds

Gabrielle Masson - Print  | 

Since going into effect in 2014, the Affordable Care Act's insurance coverage expansion has significantly reduced racial and ethnic disparities in access to healthcare, though that progress has stalled since 2016, according to a Commonwealth Fund analysis published Jan. 16. 

The Commonwealth Fund analyzed 2013-18 data from the federal American Community Survey and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Four key report findings:

1. The uninsured rate for U.S. adults dropped from 20.4 percent in 2013 to 12.4 percent in 2018.

2. Hispanic and black adults had the highest uninsured rates before the law's passage. The rate of uninsured black adults fell from 24.4 percent in 2013 to 14.4 percent in 2018, while the rate for Hispanic adults decreased from 40.2 percent to 24.9 percent.

3. The coverage disparity between black and white adults dropped from 9.9 percentage points in 2013 to 5.8 points in 2018. The gap between uninsured Hispanic and white adults narrowed from 25.7 points to 16.3 points.

4. Overall, insurance gains have stalled since 2016, including those made by black and Hispanic adults. The uninsured rate for black adults has increased by 0.7 percentage points since 2016, while white adults have seen a 0.5 percentage-point increase. Hispanic adults continue to report much higher uninsured rates than both white and black adults.

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