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More than 20 million adult Americans have gained health insurance coverage due to the health care reform law, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in a report released Thursday.
“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 20 million Americans have gained health care coverage. We have seen progress in the last six years that the country has sought for generations,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a statement.
The HHS report noted that coverage gains varied widely by race and ethnicity. For example, among white non-Hispanic adults, the uninsured rate as of Feb. 22 was 7%, down from 14.3% as of Oct. 1, 2013, while during the same period the uninsured rate among black non-Hispanic adults declined to 10.6% from 22.4%, and among Hispanic adults to 30.5% from 41.8%.
Several health care reform law provisions are credited with the gains in coverage, including those that authorized federal premium subsidies to lower-income individuals obtaining coverage in ACA-authorized exchanges and others that expanded Medicaid eligibility and required group health care plans to extend coverage to employees' adult children until they turn 26.
Prior to that last change, employers typically ended coverage for employees' children at age 18 or 19, or 23 or 24 if a full-time college student.
Aided by a last-minute surge, enrollment in public health insurance exchanges hit 12.7 million during the 2016 open enrollment season, the Department of Health & Human Services disclosed Thursday.