Thanks to Obamacare, the uninsured rate in the U.S. dropped in 2011 to 15.7 percent from 16.3 percent in 2010, and 1.4 million Americans have health insurance now who did not have coverage a year ago, according to data from the Census Bureau. 2011 was the first year in more than a decade in which the number of people with private health insurance remained steady. “Our main finding is coverage increased between 2010 and 2011,” said David Johnson, chief of the Census’s Chief, Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division.
A key factor that drove down the number of people without insurance — 48.6 million people last year compared to 50 million in 2010 — is a provision in the Affordable Care Act allowing young adults to remain on their parents’ insurance plans up to age 26. A study in June estimated that 6.6 million young adults have taken advantage of this regulation. About 40 percent of the drop in the uninsured rate for those 19-25, which feel the most of any age group, is because of young adults keeping their parents’ insurance coverage.
The Census data also showed a large drop in the uninsured rate for low-income Americans who are most likely to be eligible for public insurance programs like Medicaid. The number of people covered by Medicaid in 2011 increased to 16.5 percent (50.8 million people) from 15.8 percent (48.5 million people) in 2010, and the number of Medicare beneficiaries grew to 46.9 million in 2011 to 44.9 million in 2010.