On September 16, 2015 the U.S. Census Bureau released new estimates of health insurance coverage for the nation and by state for the years 2013 and 2014.
With this information, we are only beginning to get enough information to understand the impact of the implementation of the affordable care act and the impact of the state’s expansion of its Medicaid program, the New Hampshire Health Protection, Program. These numbers just released, give us a sense of the change in health insurance coverage as a result of the implementation of health insurance exchanges, but NOT of the expansion of its Medicaid program, given the fact that New Hampshire did not expand Medicaid until the end of the period analyzed by the census.
The number of people without health insurance in the country dropped by 8.8 million from 2013 to 2014, to a total of 33 million. The percentage of people without health insurance coverage for the entire 2014 calendar year was 10.4 percent, down from 13.3 percent in 2013.
After several years of a relatively stable uninsured rate between 2008 and 2013 as measured by the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the percentage of the population who were uninsured dropped in 2014. This was the largest percentage point decline in the uninsured rate during this period. According to the report changes in the rate of health insurance coverage and the distribution of coverage types may reflect economic trends, shifts in the demographic composition of the population, and policy changes that impact access to health care. Several such policy changes occurred in 2014, when many provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act went into effect.
In New Hampshire the percentage of people without health insurance dropped from 10.7 in 2013 to 9.2 in 2014, a 1.5 percentage point decline.
The following table shows the percent of people without health insurance for the United States and for each New England state from the Census analysis.
All of the New England states have higher rates of health insurance coverage (lower rates of uninsured) than the national average. The improvement in health insurance coverage for each state seems to be related to whether that state was a Medicaid Expansion state. The notable exception is Massachusetts, where the percent of people uninsured was 3.7 in 2013 – three times lower than the national rate.
New Hampshire and Maine were not considered to be Medicaid Expansion states, even though New Hampshire enacted Medicaid Expansion later in the year 2014.