Gallup Poll: Uninsured Rate Drops in Q2

Health Insurance

July 11, 2015

During the second quarter of 2015, the number of uninsured adults in the United States dropped by a half of one percent compared to the previous quarter, according to a Gallup Poll that has tracked this subject for the past seven years. The number of uninsured now marks the lowest recorded percentage during that time span.

Continued Declines

The 11.4 percent uninsured rate from April-June, down from 11.9 from January-March, continues a steady decline among the uninsured over much of the past two years. Between the time just before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was officially required in October 2013 and June of this year, that percentage has dropped almost six percentage points.

Polling Explained

Gallup and their partner, Healthways interviewed 43,575 people that were 18 years or older living in the United States between April 1-June 30 by. The subjects were simply asked whether or not they have insurance. So far in 2015, Gallup has tracked the monthly trend, which showed that a noticeable drop took place in February. That coincides with the February 15 deadline that required individuals to buy health insurance.

Key Demographic Drops

Two major areas where the number of uninsured have dropped since the fourth quarter of 2013 came in the areas of lower-income Americans, blacks and Hispanics. Those making less than $36,000 have dropped 9.9 percentage points to 20.8 percent, a much steeper drop than the other two segments. For example, earners of between $36,000-89,999 dropped to 8.2 percent (a decline of 3.5 percentage points), while those uninsured making $90,000 or more account are at 3.6 percent, a decline of 2.2 percentage points.

Meanwhile, among whites, the 7.4 percentage point represents a drop of 4.5 percentage points during that time frame. However, in the latter two demographics, the number is nearly double or above that percentage. Uninsured blacks have dropped to 12 percent, compared to 20.9 in that fourth quarter of 2013, while Hispanics have seen a drop from 38.7 to 29.1 percent for the same period.

Age Breakdowns

Individuals under the age of 35 and uninsured have basically seen the same drop for that period when that segment is broken down to 18-25 and 26-34 age brackets. In the first, a percentage point drop of 7.6 percent now means that 15.9 percent of this group lacks insurance. Meanwhile, the latter group of uninsured has dropped from 28.2 to 20.4, a decline of 7.8 percentage points.

For the age bracket of 35-64, only 11.3 percent of this group has no insurance, down from 18 percent since the 2013 Fourth Quarter. Senior citizens 65 and older have seen no chance, simply because many in this demographic are on Medicare.

Variances in Insurance

While the type of insurance may vary, Gallup sought to clarify exactly how people were getting insured by adding the question in August 2013, just two months before the ACA officially went into effect.

Gallup has found that the number of people who are self-funding their own health plan, or having another family member pay for their coverage, has increased over the past seven quarters from 17.6 to 20.9 percent. Those covered by either a current or former employer has dropped by less than one percent.

Two areas that have seen the largest jumps include those with Medicaid and Medicare. In the former case, the jump has been from 6.9 to 9.5 percent, while the latter increased from 6.1 to 7.6 percent. In the case of Medicare, part of the increase can be attributed to more Baby Boomers retiring.

Military or veteran’s insurance saw a small uptick of 0.3 percent, while those in unions remained stable at 2.5 percent. Those with some other coverage increased from 3.5 to 4.1 percent, while those with no insurance at all dropped seven percentage points from 20.8 to 13.8