New Reports Show Record 35 Million People Enrolled in Coverage Related to the Affordable Care Act, with Historic 21 Million People Enrolled in Medicaid Expansion Coverage
Uninsured rate approached an all-time low by end of 2021
Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Office of the Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), released a report showing new estimates for coverage related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), concluding that the total enrollment for Medicaid expansion, Marketplace coverage, and the Basic Health Program in participating states has reached an all-time high of more than 35 million people as of early 2022. The ASPE findings build on a report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) showing a record-breaking 21 million people in more than 40 states and territories gained health care coverage thanks to the ACA's expansion of Medicaid to low-income adults under 65. More than two million people gained coverage as a result of Medicaid expansion under the Biden-Harris Administration, ensuring health care coverage for underserved communities during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.
The ASPE report also describes new estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, showing that the uninsured rate in the fourth quarter of 2021 was at nearly an all-time low of 8.8% for the full population (similar to the 8.9% rate in the third quarter of 2021), compared to 10.3% in the fourth quarter of 2020.
"With a record-breaking total of over 35 million people who now have health coverage, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, America's uninsured rate is nearing an all-time low," said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. "Today's historic reports show we are delivering on our commitment to bring health care coverage to as many people as possible. We will continue to push for comprehensive ACA coverage and Medicaid expansion and work with states to make comprehensive health care accessible and equitable for families across the country."
The success of Medicaid expansion nationwide highlights a path to affordable, comprehensive, person-centered care for the 12 states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) that have yet to expand their Medicaid programs. Additional state expansion would also be a key step to advance health equity: of the nearly four million uninsured Americans who could gain coverage if these states expanded their Medicaid programs, more than half are people of color. Oklahoma and Missouri, which expanded Medicaid coverage in 2021, saw an enrollment increase of more than 276,300 and 146,600 individuals, respectively.
"Medicaid is a lifeline to better health and care for millions of people—including the millions who gained coverage thanks to expansion under the Affordable Care Act," said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. "Medicaid expansion is key to improving maternal and infant health outcomes, addressing longstanding health disparities, and connecting people to needed essential care. Nearly four million additional people could benefit from this coverage if Medicaid is expanded in all states. We can't leave them behind."
Today's CMS report details key connections to coverage under the adult group created by the ACA for people with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level. In 2021, that translated to $17,130 for a single person and $35,245 for a family of four. Since the ACA became law in 2010, 38 states, the District of Columbia, and three U.S. territories have expanded Medicaid coverage to the adult group, resulting in more than 21 million people getting Medicaid coverage.
"We remain committed to ensuring people have access to quality, affordable, comprehensive, and person-centered health care coverage and the peace of mind that comes with it," said Dan Tsai, CMS Deputy Administrator and Director of Center for Medicaid & Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Services.
Medicaid expansion also closes essential coverage gaps for women, who make up more than half of the total adult group for Medicaid expansion. Efforts to extend Medicaid and CHIP coverage for pregnant and postpartum individuals to a full year after pregnancy are also important tools to address disparities.
For information on opportunities for more states to expand Medicaid through the ACA, visit Medicaid.gov. Medicaid.gov also provides additional details on the data; a breakdown of enrollment by state or U.S. territory is also available here. For the ASPE report on the uninsured and ACA-related enrollment, please visit https://aspe.hhs.gov/reports/health-coverage-changes-2021-update.