As Obamacare exchanges set to launch, 48 million remain uninsured

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As the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges ramp up for the fast-approaching October 1 launch date, the Census Bureau reports that the number of Americans without health insurance dropped last year by 0.3 percent, which means that nearly a million people found coverage and that 48 million remain uninsured.

For a report on income, poverty and health coverage, Bureau researchers found that less people are being insured by their employers and more people than ever have turned to public insurance programs like Medicaid and Medicare. The percentage of people covered by government health insurance increased to 32.6 percent, or 101.5 million in 2012, the authors say. That’s up from 32.2 percent and 99.5 million in 2011.

The Bureau also found a significant drop, about 0.5 percent, in the number of uninsured youth, including people in their late teen and twenties. One of the initial provisions of the Affordable Care Act that went into effect in 2010 allowed Americans under 26 to move onto their parents’ insurance policies, and many have taken advantage of that provision over the last three years. Last year, 27.2 percent of Americans under 26 were uninsured. That’s the lowest that percent has dipped since 1999.

Eight percent of Americans making more than $75,000 per year are uninsured. Twenty-five percent of people making less than $25,000 per year are uninsured.

In 1987, 30 million Americans were uninsured.

Graphs included in the report full of slow steadily increasing lines suggest what an intractable and escalating problem securing health coverage has been in the U.S. over the last thirty years.

[ Image: U.S. Army ]