By Emily Tiry, Staff Editor
Gallup recently reported that the percentage of Americans who do not have health insurance continued to increase in 2011, reaching a high of 17.7 percent in December. From 2008 to 2011, the groups that were already least likely to be uninsured, including Hispanics, low-income individuals, and African-Americans, became even less likely to have coverage. The exception to this trend was adults aged 18 to 25, who benefited from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision that allowed them to stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until age 26. At the same time, the rate of uninsurance of those who were least likely to be uninsured (high-income individuals and adults over 65) remained steady.
Not only has the number of uninsured Americans gone up, but the increase has also disproportionately affected the most vulnerable groups. We already have evidence that one ACA provision has benefited young adults. Assuming the individual mandate is upheld in the Supreme Court later this year, time will tell how the mandate will change these coverage trends in the long run.