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Number of Uninsured Down After ACA Open Enrollment

Decrease in number of uninsured; gain in coverage leads to improvements in access

THURSDAY, July 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- There has been a decrease in the number of uninsured following the open enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a report published online July 23 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Benjamin D. Sommers, M.D., Ph.D., from the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C., and colleagues examined the effect of ACA implementation on insurance coverage and access to care. Nationally representative survey data for 420,449 adults were used to examine these trends from January 2012 through June 2014.

The researchers found that since the ACA open enrollment period began in October 2013 there has been a significant decrease in the number of Americans without health insurance. The patterns of changes in coverage are consistent with the eligibility criteria in the law relating to subsidized coverage. Within six months of gaining insurance more adults reported having a personal doctor and fewer have had difficulties with payment for care. These improvements in access to care have been found to be in accordance with studies of previous insurance expansions. National estimates of coverage after the open enrollment period are not yet available, nor are reliable state-level estimates.

"Future research with these government-conducted surveys will be valuable to corroborate these findings, monitor future trends, and further assess the downstream effects of coverage," the authors write.

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