The Gallup Organization is reporting that the percentage of Americans who don’t have healthcare insurance is at the lowest level since 2008:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The percentage of Americans without health insurance continues to fall, measuring 15.9% so far in 2014 compared with 17.1% in the fourth quarter of 2013.
These data are based on more than 28,000 interviews with Americans from Jan. 2-Feb. 28, 2014, as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. With only a few weeks remaining in the first quarter, the uninsured rate is on track to be the lowest quarterly level that Gallup and Healthways have measured since 2008.
The uninsured rate has been declining since the fourth quarter of 2013, after hitting an all-time high of 18.0% in the third quarter. The uninsured rate for the first quarter of 2014 so far includes a 16.2% reading for January and 15.6% for February.
That’s good news, if true.
There’s still cause for concern. For example, increases in those with insurance are nearly equally divided between two groups: those who are paying for their own insurance and those enrolled in Medicaid. There are a lot of unknowns. We don’t know how many of those previously uninsured have actually enrolled for healthcare insurance. We don’t know how many of those who enrolled are actually covered.
We don’t know how many of those who are newly enrolled for Medicaid qualified under the old rules (which means that the states are responsible for paying their tabs). And we don’t know if the states’ revenues will increase before they’re responsible for paying the full freight of those covered under Medicaid under the new rules.
Still, it’s good news.