New Jersey: ACA lowers uninsured rate by 38-47% (Updated)
That's not me saying it; that's the actual headline and the conclusion of a report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:
RENTON — The first look at the Affordable Care Act’s impact on New Jersey reveals the percentage of uninsured people is on track to reach its lowest level in nearly a quarter of a century, according to a new report released Thursday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The proportion of uninsured adults decreased 38 percent from September to early March, according to the foundation. That decline is likely to accelerate, knowing that many people waited until the last minute to beat the March 30 enrollment deadline.
"These findings suggest that uninsurance in New Jersey is at its lowest level since 1990," according to the report produced by the foundation and the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy.
As impressive as the 28% drop is, the bold-faced bits are even more important. As of March 1st, New Jersey's exchange QHP total was only 74,370 (vs. 161,775 as of 4/19), and the combined Medicaid/CHIP totals from both the HHS and CMS reports was only 150,638 (vs. 217,522 as of the end of early April). Specifically, about 40,000 expansion-specific Medicaid enrollees were added in just the first few weeks of April.
In other words, between QHPs and Medicaid, it looks like the uninsured number in NJ may have dropped up to an additional 127,000 people since "early March". Some of these folks were switching from an existing policy of some sort, of course, and there will have already been a bit of churn even among the rest, so let's call it an even 100K.
The article doesn't give the actual "starting" number of uninsured in New Jersey, but according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, it was roughly 1.25 million last fall.
Assuming the 38% is based on this, that means a net reduction in the inuinsured of around 475,000 through "early March" and another 100K since then, which would mean the reduction to date should actually be closer to 46%.
UPDATE: Thanks to Stuart Levine in the comments for the link to the actual RWJF report. Lots of interesting stuff there; the most relevant to me is that the actual numeric reduction in the uninsured they use is around 430,000 vs. my 475,000 estimate.
If 430K = 38%, that means that RWJF estimates the total number of uninsured in NJ as of last fall as about 1.13 million instead of KFF's 1.25 million. Using the 1.13M total, adding 100K to the 430K means the actual percent reduction should be more like 47%, slightly higher than my earlier estimate of 46%.
In any event, this is amazing news.