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June 2015 St@teside

Covering the Remaining Uninsured

Since the enactment of the ACA, the uninsurance rate in the U.S. has steadily declined to 11.9 percent, as of the first quarter in 2015, which is the lowest uninsurance rate on record. While the ACA has made significant strides in broadening access to coverage, there is still work to be done to cover the remaining uninsured. A recent Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report, “Understanding the Uninsured,” and its companion webinar examine the values of the uninsured and assesses the barriers that prevent them from obtaining health insurance. This report also offers insights into how messaging and outreach tactics can be refined to better address the concerns of the remaining uninsured and facilitate enrollment, which are especially important as marketplaces begin planning for the 2016 open enrollment period.

Going beyond marketing and outreach efforts, several states have recently introduced more proactive policy measures aiming to improve coverage among specific populations who have high uninsurance rates or may fall into a coverage gap. For example, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a budget that will expand Medi-Cal, Cailfornia’s Medicaid program, to low-income undocumented children beginning on May 1, 2016. Furthermore, New York’s legislature approved a bill that would classify pregnancy as qualifying event, which would allow a woman to enroll in coverage through the health insurance marketplace outside of the open enrollment period. If Governor Andrew Cuomo signs the bill, New York will be the first state in the country to create a special enrollment period for women who become pregnant.