Six Years Into Obama’s Health Care Law, Who Are The Uninsured

Roughly 20 million more Americans have health insurance now than whenPresident Obama’s health care law was passed in 2010. But as Mr. Obama prepares to leave office, there are still about 24 million adults with no coverage, according to a survey by the Commonwealth Fund, a health research group. That translates to an uninsured rate of about 13 percent, down from 20 percent in 2013. Who are the remaining uninsured?

Increasingly, Hispanics

Forty percent of the uninsured are Hispanic. That’s up from 29 percent in 2013, before the main insurance coverage options under the health care law took effect. One obvious reason is that undocumented immigrants are generally not eligible for the coverage offered under the law. Still, the uninsured rate among Hispanics has fallen to 29 percent, from 36 percent in 2013.

Forty-one percent of the uninsured are white (down from 50 percent in 2013), 12 percent are black (down from 13 percent) and 6 percent are Asian and other races (unchanged from 2013).


Almost half of the uninsured are young, ranging in age from 19 to 34. But the survey found that the percentage of young adults without health insurance had dropped quite a bit, to 18 percent now from 28 percent in 2013.


Fifty-eight percent of uninsured Americans — a bigger chunk than in 2013 — are men.

The Very Poor

The uninsured tend to be very poor; 39 percent have incomes under the federal poverty level, which is $24,250 for a family of four. Of those, many live in states that have not expanded Medicaid.

Only 6 percent of the uninsured earn more than 400 percent of the poverty level, which comes out to $97,000 for a family of four.


More than half of the uninsured live in states that have not expanded Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor. The health law gave states the option to make Medicaid available to almost everyone with incomes up to 138 percent of the poverty level, or $33,465 for a family of four. But in April, when the survey was completed, 20 states had not done so. (Louisiana expanded Medicaid starting in June.)

Almost half of the uninsured live in the South, where many of the states that haven’t expanded Medicaid — including the two largest, Florida and Texas — are. The Midwest has had the biggest drop in its uninsured rate, to 8 percent now from 17 percent in 2013.

Workers at Small Companies

Most Americans who remain uninsured have jobs, the survey found. But a significant number, 43 percent, do not. Thirty-seven percent work full time, and 19 percent work part time.

Most workers who don’t have health insurance have jobs at small companies, with fewer than 25 employees. Those companies are exempt from the health law’s requirement that employers offer health insurance to their full-time workers or pay a fine. Fifty-seven percent of uninsured Americans with jobs work for small businesses, up from 48 percent in 2013.

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