Uninsurance rates for racial and ethnic groups decline because of ACA

December 19, 2014

The ACA has had a significant impact on uninsurance rates for racial and ethnic minorities, according to a new study by the Urban Institute.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has significantly reduced uninsurance rates for racial and ethnic groups, according to a new study by the Urban Institute, a non-profit policy research organization.

The study also found that the uninsurance gap between whites and all other minority groups except blacks has narrowed, attributable in part to Medicaid expansion. The uninsurance gap between whites and blacks has not narrowed because a disproportionately large number of blacks live in states that have not expanded Medicaid, according to the study.

The study found that a small group of states account for the majority of gains for certain ethnic groups.

Uninsured rate without the ACA:

  • 13% of all whites (21.5 million) would be uninsured;

  • 17% of all Asian/Pacific Islanders (2.6 million) would be uninsured;

  • 20% of all blacks (6.8 million) would be uninsured;

  • 26% of all American Indian/ Alaska natives (1.3 million) would be uninsured;

  • 31% of all Latinos (16.7 million) would be uninsured.

Uninsured rate with 27 states and the District of Columbia expanding Medicaid:

  • 6.3% of all whites (21.5 million) would be uninsured;

  • 8.9% of all Asian/Pacific Islanders (2.6 million) would be uninsured;

  • 11.3% of all blacks (6.8 million) would be uninsured;

  • 13% of all American Indian/ Alaska natives (1.3 million) would be uninsured;

  • 19% of all Latinos (16.7 million) would be uninsured.

Uninsured rate If all states expanded Medicaid:

  • 4.6% of all whites (21.5 million) would be uninsured;

  • 8% of all Asian/Pacific Islanders (2.6 million) would be uninsured;

  • 7.2% of all blacks (6.8 million) would be uninsured;

  • 9.9% of all American Indian/ Alaska natives (1.3 million) would be uninsured;

  • 16.6% of all Latinos (16.7 million) would be uninsured.

The study’s authors - Lisa Clemans-Cope, Matthew Buettgens, and Hannah Recht, looked at U.S. Census’ American Community Survey data from 2009, 2010 and 2011 and applied it to a microsimulation model.

Results exclude undocumented immigrants because they’re prohibited from enrolling in Medicaid or purchasing coverage through the federal-facilitated marketplace or state exchanges. That group, says the study, makes up an estimated one-quarter of all remaining uninsured residents in the U.S. if no further states beyond the current number (27 plus the District of Columbia) expand Medicaid.