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Economic Progress Institute: More Rhode Islanders gained health insurance coverage in 2018



Rate of uninsured Rhode Islanders dropped to 4.1 percent

New data released by the Census Bureau today show that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is working in Rhode Island and the country. The percentage of uninsured Rhode Islanders in 2018 was 4.1 percent compared with 4.6 percent the previous year and less than half the rate in 2013 before the ACA went into effect. Under the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, Rhode Islanders with income just above the poverty level became eligible for coverage for the first time, while those with higher incomes could purchase coverage through HealthSource RI, the state’s health insurance exchange.

Nationally, the uninsured rate increased from 8.7 percent in 2017 to 8.9 percent in 2018. The 2018 rate was significantly lower than the rate (14.5 percent) in the year prior to the ACA. As of January, 2018, 31 states and the District of Columbia had expanded Medicaid eligibility. In states that expanded Medicaid eligibility, the uninsured rate in 2018 was significantly lower (6.6 percent) compared with 12.4 percent in states that did not expand coverage.

“Thanks to the ACA more Rhode Islanders are able to get the comprehensive health care they need to become or stay healthy,” said Linda Katz, Policy Director for the Economic Progress Institute. “Medicaid expansion and coverage purchased through HealthSource RI not only help residents who rely on this coverage, but benefits all of us by bringing millions of new federal dollars into our state, supporting our economy as a whole and our health care sector in particular.”

Currently around 75,000 adults age 19 – 64 (the expansion population) are enrolled in Medicaid. Every state dollar invested in this population leverages $17 in federal funds. Around 32,500 Rhode Islanders purchase coverage through HealthSource RI, the vast majority of whom (eighty-one percent) qualify for federal tax credits totaling $8.35M.

[From a press release]

The Economic Progress Institute – formerly The Poverty Institute – is a nonpartisan research and policy organization dedicated to improving the economic well-being of low- and modest-income Rhode Islanders. The Economic Progress Institute advocates for policies that improve economic security and opportunity for Rhode Islanders.

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