Who got covered thanks to the ACA?


Last week, the NY Times’ The Upshot featured an interactive look at new coverage data from Enroll America and data firm Civic Analytics. According to the data, roughly 10 million people gained coverage this year as a result of the Affordable Care Act. What’s exciting about the data is that it provides a much closer look at who the newly insured might be and where they may live.

The article is accompanied by a colorful map of county-level data showing estimated coverage gains between 2013 and 2014. It’s exciting to see that coverage rates increased by over 10% in some parts of the country, including rural areas of Arkansas, Nevada and Oregon. New York’s coverage gains aren’t quite as dramatic, hovering around 5% in most areas, likely because our coverage rates are already relatively high by national standards. (In 2013, New York ranked 12th in the nation for its insured population).

But with a State as large as New York, even a less dramatic percentage change equals a very high number of people.  Remember that over 1.5 million people enrolled in health insurance through the NY State of Health in its first year, and roughly 1.3 million of these people were uninsured when they applied. This new data also helps us understand which parts of New York may have seen the biggest coverage gains. For example, Greene County appears to have had the biggest decrease in its uninsured rate, dropping by 6% from 14% in 2013 to 8% in 2014.

As for the country as a whole, the trends are somewhat surprising and certainly encouraging. According to this data, some traditionally underserved communities may have been helped the most by the Affordable Care Act, including racial and ethnic minorities (Hispanics and black Americans), low-income people, and people living in rural areas.  Hispanic uninsurance rates, for example, dropped nearly 10% from 26.2% in 2013 to 16.5% in 2014.

Keep in mind that the data are from a statistical model based on a large-scale Enroll America survey, so they are estimated rather than actual numbers. Still, these estimates provide ample food for thought as we await Census data for 2014.

Visit the NY Times article here. Can’t get enough of the data? The Upshot is hosting a Facebook Q&A later TODAY, Monday, November 3 at 2pm on its Facebook page.


The remaining uninsured have lingering concerns about health insurance affordability, and many are  unaware of their state’s Marketplace and upcoming opportunities to enroll. That’s according to a new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation sponsored study about barriers and motivations of the uninsured to enrolling in health insurance during the ACA’s second enrollment period.  The study, conducted by PerryUndem Research/Communication and GMMB, involved a national survey of 1,259 uninsured consumers and 10 focus groups in six cities: Chicago, Cleveland, Las Vegas, Miami, Phoenix, and Teaneck, NJ.

Key findings highlight the need for more outreach to the uninsured during the upcoming open enrollment period, which starts on November 15. For example, more than half of the uninsured did not look into enrolling during the last open enrollment period. And, one in four was unaware of the federal or their state’s marketplace. Additionally, 58% of the uninsured have financial debt, and affordability of health insurance continues to be a top concern.

The good news is, nearly three in four want health coverage: 72% agreed with the statement: “Having health insurance would make my life better.” In light of these findings, the researchers recommend the following when it comes to messaging to the uninsured:

Speak to barriers. Emphasize that low-cost plans and financial help are available and people can get in-person help to apply.

Encourage people to check out their options. Many of the uninsured did not look at the Marketplace last year. Those who did could still find different options this year.

Talk about the fine. Give the facts about the fine and how it will increase in 2015 and 2016. This gives an extra “push” to those already thinking about enrolling.

Use peer networks to get out the word. People want to know that it’s possible to get good coverage and financial help to afford it and it helps to hear this from someone they trust.

These messaging strategies can help those doing outreach to the remaining uninsured in New York State. New York enrolled over 1.5 million people in the first year of the NY State of Health Marketplace, but we still have work to do to ensure all New Yorkers are covered. Getting the word out – and using the right messages to do so – will be key to making sure the second open enrollment period is a success.

View the full RWJF report here.

As of September, 1.5 million New Yorkers had enrolled in coverage through the NY State of Health Marketplace. Are you one of them? Or, do you know others who enrolled? The time to renew that NY State of Health coverage is coming right up!

How will renewing coverage work? The NY State of Health just released this new video that breaks down the process. The short (1.5 minute) video includes important details, like:

  • Those who enrolled last year will receive a renewal notice before open enrollment begins on November 15, including key details like what coverage they have currently and how much it will cost to keep the same plan.
  • Those who agree with the notices and do not want to make changes will be automatically enrolled in the same plan for another year.
  • Those who need or want to change their coverage can make a change between November 16 and December 15 for January coverage. Changes can be made online at nystateofhealth.ny.gov, by calling the helpline at 1-855-355-5777, or by visiting an in-person assistor in their community.

We could go on, but why not watch it here for yourself? And better yet, send the link to friends and family who enrolled. It’s all part of making sure those 1.5 million New Yorkers who have already enrolled can keep their coverage in the years ahead.


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With open enrollment just over a month away, the New York State Marketplace has been adding some new and noteworthy features. Many of these are geared toward improving outreach and enrollment efforts to reach the remaining uninsured in New York. About 2.7 million New Yorkers were uninsured before the Marketplace launch. Over 1.4 million had enrolled in plans by the end of August, over 80 percent of whom were uninsured when they application.

In other words, we’ve made incredible progress. And there’s still work to do.

With that in mind, here are a few things to check out:

Events calendar for enrollment assistance 

New Yorkers who are looking to learn more about their options and enroll now have one more way to find certified assistors. The Marketplace now has an interactive events calendar where assistors are posting everything from free health insurance workshops to tabling at community events. Upcoming highlights are a Harvest Festival in Walden (October 4) and a Diwali festival in Hicksville (October 12). An interactive map allows people to search by region.

Enrollment demographics by county and zipcode

New county-by-county enrollment data is now available on the Marketplace website. Click on a county to view enrollment data by type of program, percentage of enrollees who were uninsured at the time of application, race/ethnicity, gender, and age. This new data will help advocates and community-based organizations target outreach efforts in the coming months.

Data is also available down to the zipcode level by type of program. You can view data for up to 10 zipcodes at once by using their new tool here.

Coming soon…the NY State of Health Marketplace in Spanish

Marketplace Executive Director Donna Frescatore announced at recent the Regional Outreach and Enrollment Summits that a Spanish-language version of the NY State of Health website will be available in time for this year’s open enrollment launch on November 15. Last year’s enrollment of Spanish speaking New Yorkers was three times lower than the Urban Institute’s 2013 enrollment projections. Hopefully the new website helps to boost those numbers.

Urban Institute Projections vs. NY State of Health (NYSOH) Actual Enrollment by Language 

enrollment by language