TIME

Poll: Uninsured Rate Falls, Thanks to Health Care Law

A. Michael Khoury at Leading Insurance Agency enrolls Hisham Uadadeh in a health insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act on Feb. 13, 2014 in Miami.
A. Michael Khoury at Leading Insurance Agency enrolls Hisham Uadadeh in a health insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act on Feb. 13, 2014 in Miami. Joe Raedle—Getty Images

The federal and state health care marketplaces built into the Affordable Care Act may explain the drop in the rate of Americans who aren't covered, a new poll suggests, down from 17.1% in late 2013 to 15.9% so far this year

The rate of Americans without health insurance continues to fall, according to a new Gallup poll that largely credits the Affordable Care Act for the drop. The uninsured rate for all Americans has fallen to 15.9% so far in 2014. In late 2013, the uninsured rate was at 17.1%.

“This drop could be a result of the ACA, which aims to provide healthcare coverage to more Americans through multiple provisions, including federal and state healthcare marketplaces where Americans can purchase health insurance coverage at competitive rates,” a report by Gallup reads.

The poll of 28,000 American adults shows that every age group has experienced declines in the rate of uninsured people, except for those aged 65 and older who largely depend on Medicare. In late 2013, about 28.2% of 26 to 34-year-olds were uninsured, or the so-called “young invincibles” that will need to sign up for the Affordable Care Act in order for premiums on the insurance marketplaces to remain broadly affordable for all. As of 2014, that rate has dropped to 26.6%, according to Gallup. Among those 35 to 64-years old, the rate has dropped from 18% to 16.3%.

The number of Americans who receive insurance coverage from a current or former employer has also decreased, with 43.4% of those surveyed saying they receive insurance through their jobs, down from 45.5% in late 2013.

The two groups that have experienced the most significant drop are low-income adults and African Americans, both of which have seen uninsured rates drop by 2 percentage points. On Monday, the National Medical Association is set to announce a new partnership with black churches to get more blacks enrolled; currently about 1 in 5 blacks are uninsured. Hispanic Americans, at an uninsured rate of 37.9%, according to Gallup, remain the most likely to lack coverage.

In late February, the Department of Health and Human Services reported that 4 million people have signed up for health insurance through the marketplaces. Gallup estimates the number of uninsured will continue to drop as the March 31 deadline to sign up for Obamacare or face a penalty approaches.

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