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U.S. uninsured rate highest since 2014

Staff Writer |
The percentage of U.S. adults lacking health insurance rose in the third quarter of 2017 to 12.3%, up 0.6 percentage points from the previous quarter and 1.4 points since the end of 2016.

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The uninsured rate is now the highest recorded since the last quarter of 2014 when it was 12.9%.

The uninsured rate, measured by Gallup and Sharecare since 2008, had fallen to a record low of 10.9% in the third and fourth quarters of 2016.

However, the 1.4-point increase in the percentage of adults without health insurance since the end of last year represents nearly 3.5 million Americans who have entered the ranks of the uninsured.

Still, the uninsured rate remains well below its peak of 18.0% measured in the third quarter of 2013, prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) mandated healthcare exchanges and the associated requirement that all adults have health insurance or be subject to a fine.

Several marketplace factors could be contributing to the growth of the uninsured rate since 2016. Some insurance companies have stopped offering insurance through the exchanges, and the lack of competition could be driving up the cost of plans for consumers.

As a result, the rising insurance premiums could be compelling some Americans to forgo insurance, especially those who fail to qualify for federal subsidies.

Uncertainty about the healthcare law also may be driving the increase. Congressional Republicans' attempts to replace the healthcare law may be causing consumers to question whether the government will enforce the penalty for not having insurance.

The results for the third quarter of 2017 are based on more than 45,000 interviews with U.S. adults aged 18 and older from July 1 to September 30, conducted as part of the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index.

Gallup and Sharecare have asked a random sample of at least 500 U.S. adults each day since January 2008 whether they have health insurance.


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