The passage of the Affordable Care Act represents an historic change in the way health insurance has been handled in the United States. With political discourse about the act continuing to occupy public policy debates and the news media, this collection attempts to shed light on the impact of the policy on citizens and providers as well as examine how the ACA is affecting quality, access, and costs of care.

Know of content that should be considered for this collection? Please suggest a report!

Search this collection

Clear all

18 results found

reorder grid_view
Featured

How the Affordable Care Act Has Improved Americans' Ability to Buy Health Insurance on Their Own: Findings from the Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey, 2016

February 2, 2017

Issue: Since 2001, long before the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey has examined health coverage and consumers' experiences buying insurance and using health care. Goals: To examine long-term trends and to make comparisons before and after passage of health reform. Methods: Analysis of the Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey, 2016. Findings and Conclusions: There have been dramatic improvements in people's ability to buy health plans on their own following the passage of the ACA. For adults with family incomes less than $48,500, uninsured rates dropped about 17 percentage points below their 2010 peak. Lower-income whites, blacks, and Latinos have experienced drops this large, though Latinos are uninsured at higher rates. Among working-age adults who had shopped for plans in the individual market and ACA marketplaces over the prior three years, the percentage who reported it was very difficult to find affordable plans fell by nearly half from 2010, prior to the ACA reforms, to 2016. Coverage gains are helping working-age Americans get the care they need: the number of adults who reported problems getting needed health care and filling prescriptions because of costs fell from a high of 80 million in 2012 to an estimated 63 million in 2016.

Increasing Access to Care; Lowering Costs of Care

The Slowdown in Employer Insurance Cost Growth: Why Many Workers Still Feel the Pinch

October 26, 2016

Although predictions that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would lead to reductions in employer-sponsored health coverage have not been realized, some of the law's critics maintain the ACA is nevertheless driving higher premium and deductible costs for businesses and their workers.Goal: To compare cost growth in employer-sponsored health insurance before and after 2010, when the ACA was enacted, and to compare changes in these costs relative to changes in workers' incomes.Methods: The authors analyzed federal Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data to compare cost trends over the 10-year period from 2006 to 2015.Key findings and conclusions: Compared to the five years leading up to the ACA, premium growth for single health insurance policies offered by employers slowed both in the nation overall and in 33 states and the District of Columbia. There has been a similar slowdown in growth in the amounts employees contribute to health plan costs. Yet many families feel pinched by their health care costs: despite a recent surge, income growth has not kept pace in many areas of the U.S. Employee contributions to premiums and deductibles amounted to 10.1 percent of U.S. median income in 2015, compared to 6.5 percent in 2006. These costs are higher relative to income in many southeastern and southern states, where incomes are below the national average.

Who Are the Remaining Uninsured and Why Haven't They Signed Up for Coverage? Findings from the Commonwealth Fund Affordable Care Act Tracking Survey, February–April 2016

August 18, 2016

The number of uninsured people in the United States has declined by an estimated 20 million since the Affordable Care Act went into effect in 2010. Yet, an estimated 24 million people still lack health insurance. Goal: To examine the characteristics of the remaining uninsured adults and their reasons for not enrolling in marketplace plans or Medicaid. Methods: Analysis of the Commonwealth Fund ACA Tracking Survey, February–April 2016. Key findings and conclusions: There have been notable shifts in the demographic composition of the uninsured since the law's major coverage expansions went into effect in 2014. Latinos have become a growing share of the uninsured, rising from 29 percent in 2013 to 40 percent in 2016. Whites have become a declining share, falling from half the uninsured in 2013 to 41 percent in 2016. The uninsured are very poor: 39 percent of uninsured adults have incomes below the federal poverty level, twice the rate of their overall representation in the adult population. Of uninsured adults who are aware of the marketplaces or who have tried to enroll for coverage, the majority point to affordability concerns as a reason for not signing up.

The Changing Landscape of Health Care Coverage and Access: Comparing States' Progress in the ACA's First Year

December 9, 2015

This analysis compares access to affordable health care across U.S. states after the first year of the Affordable Care Act's major coverage expansions. It finds that in 2014, uninsured rates for working-age adults declined in nearly every state compared with 2013. There was at least a three-percentage-point decline in 39 states. For children, uninsured rates declined by at least two percentage points in 16 states. The share of adults who said they went without care because of costs decreased by at least two points in 21 states, while the share of at-risk adults who had not had a recent checkup declined by that same amount in 11 states. Yet there was little progress in expanding access to dental care for adults, which is not a required insurance benefit under the ACA. Wide variation in insurance coverage and access to care persists, highlighting many opportunities for states to improve.

Increasing Access to Care

Health Care Coverage and Access in the Nation's Four Largest States: Results from the Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey, 2014

April 10, 2015

Across the country's four largest states, uninsured rates vary for adults ages 19 to 64: 12 percent of New Yorkers, 17 percent of Californians, 21 percent of Floridians, and 30 percent of Texans lacked health coverage in 2014. Differences also extend to the proportion of residents reporting problems getting needed care because of cost, which was significantly lower in New York and California compared with Florida and Texas. Similarly, lower percentages of New Yorkers and Californians reported having a medical bill problem in the past 12 months or having accrued medical debt compared with Floridians and Texans. These differences stem from a variety of factors, including whether states have expanded eligibility for Medicaid, the state's uninsured rate prior to the Affordable Care Act taking effect, differences in the cost protections provided by private health insurance, and demographics.

Improving Quality of Care; Increasing Access to Care

Gaining Ground: Americans' Health Insurance Coverage and Access to Care After the Affordable Care Act's First Open Enrollment Period

July 10, 2014

A new Commonwealth Fund survey finds that in the wake of the Affordable Care Act's first open enrollment period, significantly fewer working-age adults are uninsured than just before the sign-up period began, and many have used their new coverage to obtain needed care. The uninsured rate for people ages 19 to 64 declined from 20 percent in the July-to-September 2013 period to 15 percent in the April-to-June 2014 period. An estimated 9.5 million fewer adults were uninsured. Young men and women drove a large part of the decline: the uninsured rate for 19-to-34-year-olds declined from 28 percent to 18 percent, with an estimated 5.7 million fewer young adults uninsured. By June, 60 percent of adults with new coverage through the marketplaces or Medicaid reported they had visited a doctor or hospital or filled a prescription; of these, 62 percent said they could not have accessed or afforded this care previously.

Increasing Access to Care; Making the Transition

America's Underinsured: A State-by-State Look at Health Insurance Affordability Prior to the New Coverage Expansions

March 25, 2014

The Affordable Care Act insurance reforms seek to expand coverage and to improve the affordability of care and premiums. Before the implementation of the major reforms, data from U.S. census surveys indicated nearly 32 million insured people under age 65 were in households spending a high share of their income on medical care. Adding these "underinsured" people to the estimated 47.3 million uninsured, the state share of the population at risk for not being able to afford care ranged from 14 percent in Massachusetts to 36 percent to 38 percent in Idaho, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas. Nationally, more than half of people with low incomes and 20 percent of those with middle incomes were either underinsured or uninsured in 2012. The report provides state baselines to assess changes in coverage and affordability and compare states as insurance expansions and market reforms are implemented.

Improving Quality of Care; Lowering Costs of Care

What Americans Think of the New Insurance Marketplaces and Medicaid Expansion: Findings from the Commonwealth Fund Health Insurance Marketplace Survey, 2013

September 30, 2013

The Affordable Care Act's health insurance marketplaces are opening for enrollment on October 1, 2013. The Commonwealth Fund Health Insurance Marketplace Survey, 2013, finds that only two of five adults are aware of the marketplaces or of potential financial help that may be available to them to pay for plans purchased though the marketplaces. However, three of five adults who might be eligible for these new options said they were likely to take advantage of them. The survey also finds broad support for state expansion of the Medicaid program, even in states that have not yet decided to expand their programs. While outreach and education are critical to ensuring that those eligible for the new coverage options will enroll, the survey results suggest that eligible Americans will likely take advantage of the law's insurance reforms in the months and years to come.

Implications for Medicaid/Medicare; Making the Transition

Insuring the Future: Current Trends in Health Coverage and the Effects of Implementing the Affordable Care Act

April 1, 2013

The major insurance coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act go into effect in January 2014, providing new insurance options for people without health insurance and insurance market protections for consumers. The Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey of 2012 finds that the reform law has significantly increased health insurance coverage of young adults. But the findings also underscore why it is critical that implementation continue on schedule. Nearly half (46%) of adults ages 19 to 64, or an estimated 84 million people, did not have insurance for the full year or were underinsured and unprotected from high out-of-pocket costs. Two of five (41%) adults, or 75 million people, reported they had problems paying their medical bills or were paying off medical debt. And more than two of five (43%), or 80 million people, reported cost-related problems getting needed health care.

Increasing Access to Care; Lowering Costs of Care; Making the Transition; The Uninsured

Gaps in Health Insurance: Why So Many Americans Experience Breaks in Coverage and How the Affordable Care Act Will Help

April 19, 2012

Presents findings from the Health Insurance Tracking Survey of U.S. Adults, including the percentage of those who were uninsured during 2011, reasons for gaps in coverage, access to regular and preventive care, and the impact of federal healthcare reform.

Making the Transition; The Uninsured

The Income Divide in Health Care: How the Affordable Care Act Will Help Restore Fairness to the U.S. Health System

February 7, 2012

Presents survey findings related to uninsurance, access to regular sources of care, and emergency room visits among low- and moderate-income families compared with others. Outlines Affordable Care Act provisions to offer affordable coverage options.

Increasing Access to Care; Lowering Costs of Care; The Uninsured

Realizing Health Reform's Potential: When Unemployed Means Uninsured: The Toll of Job Loss on Health Coverage, and How the Affordable Care Act Will Help

August 23, 2011

Examines how the 2010 healthcare reform will significantly expand affordable health coverage options for the unemployed who cannot afford COBRA. Calls for re-establishing COBRA premium subsidies to bridge coverage gaps until it is implemented in 2014.

Increasing Access to Care; The Uninsured