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September 22, 2015
Contact: HHS Press Office

Secretary Burwell previews third Open Enrollment

New analysis shows 17.6 million have gained coverage as Affordable Care Act provisions have taken effect; about 10.5 million uninsured individuals are eligible for Marketplace coverage

In a speech at the Howard University College of Medicine today, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia M. Burwell reflected on the progress of the first five years of the Affordable Care Act and provided a look at the upcoming Open Enrollment period. In her speech, the Secretary described how the law is working to deliver access, affordability, and quality coverage and outlined how the Department of Health and Human Services will meet the challenges of the upcoming Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplaces.

Citing a new ASPE Data Point released by HHS, Secretary Burwell noted that about 17.6 million uninsured people have gained health coverage as the law’s coverage provisions have taken effect. [1] The number of uninsured people has decreased for three chief reasons: allowing young people up to age 26 to stay on their parents’ plans, the Medicaid expansion in 29 states plus DC, and the availability of affordable insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplaces. Secretary Burwell also noted that the uninsured rate declined among African Americans. Between October 2013 and September 12, 2015:

  • 4.0 million Latino adults gained coverage (an 11.5 percent drop)
  • 2.6 million African American adults gained coverage (a 10.3 percent drop)
  • 7.4 million White adults gained coverage (a 6 percent drop)

“Five years in, millions of people have new coverage and the percentage of the uninsured has been reduced to the lowest level on record,” said Secretary Burwell. “We now have a new opportunity before us to build on this progress. We know current Marketplace customers are satisfied with their coverage, and we expect most to continue with it. We also believe we can continue to connect people with the coverage they need and further decrease the number of Americans without health insurance.”

With Open Enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace beginning its third year on November 1, she acknowledged that “overall, this Open Enrollment is going to be tougher than last year. But while those remaining uninsured may be harder to reach, we’re working smarter to reach them. We know Americans are depending on us, and we’re doing everything we can to help them find the coverage they need.”

Secretary Burwell outlined the following key facts about Marketplace eligible uninsured:

  • About 10.5 million uninsured Americans are eligible for Marketplace coverage in the upcoming open enrollment.
  • While HHS will work to bolster enrollment across the nation, the Department’s top five target areas for outreach are Dallas, Houston, northern New Jersey, Chicago, and Miami – which are home to the highest numbers of uninsured who are eligible for Marketplace coverage.
  • Almost half of the uninsured individuals who are likely eligible for Marketplace plans are between the ages of 18 and 34.
  • Almost 40 percent of the uninsured who qualify for Marketplace plans are living between 139 and 250 percent of the federal poverty level (about $34,000 to $61,000 for a family of four).
  • Approximately one-third of the uninsured who qualify for Marketplace plans are people of color: approximately 19 percent are Hispanic, 14 percent are African American, and 2 percent are Asian American.

Secretary Burwell also described additional takeaways about the uninsured:

  • About half of the uninsured have less than $100 in savings.
  • Nearly three in five of the uninsured are either confused about how the tax credits work or don’t know that they are available.

To read today’s data point on the number of uninsured individuals who have gained coverage visit http://aspe.hhs.gov/health-insurance-coverage-and-affordable-care-act-aspe-issue-brief-september-2015

[1] Source: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) analysis of Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey data through 9/12/15. The baseline period is from Q1 2012 to Q3 2013. All models use nationally-representative survey weights and adjust for age, sex, race, ethnicity, employment, state of residence, marital status, rural location, and a linear time trend in order to control for changes in the economy, population composition, and non-policy factors affecting health insurance coverage. Models do not adjust for income due to changes in Gallup methodology beginning on June 1, 2015. Historical estimates have been updated to reflect the new methodology and differ from those in ASPE’s analysis from March 2015 (http://aspe.hhs.gov/health-insurance-coverage-and-affordable-care-act-aspe-issue-brief-september-2015). See technical notes for additional details.

Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other news materials are available at https://www.hhs.gov/news.
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Last revised: September 22, 2015

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