Number Of Uninsured Americans Rises To 11.7 Percent

Robert Donachie | Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter

The percentage of American adults without health insurance jumped from 11.3 to 11.7 percent in the second quarter of 2017, according to a Gallup poll released Monday morning.

The increase in the number of uninsured Americans is relegated mainly to younger, healthier consumers. The uninsured rate rose 1.9 percentage points for consumers ages 18 to 25 and 1.5 points for consumers 26 to 34 since 2016.

The uninsured rates for consumers ages 65 and above have remained relatively unchanged since 2013.

While the overall percentage of uninsured Americans has steadily increased in the first two-quarters of 2017, it is still 6.3 percentage points lower than it was in the third quarter of 2013, Gallup reports. In October 2013, the percentage of uninsured Americans reached 18 percent.

The Obamacare individual and employer mandate came into effect in January 2014, causing the number of uninsured Americans to gradually decrease over time, as consumers either had to acquire insurance or pay a penalty.

Some of the loss in insurance coverage could be attributed to rising premiums, which are anticipated to increase as much as 33 percent in 2017. Younger consumers are likely more responsive to higher premiums and some choose to pay the one-time penalty for not having insurance over costly monthly premiums for coverage they may never use.

Another contributing factor could be the number of insurance providers pulling out of the Obamacare state exchanges. Three major insurance providers have pulled out of Obamacare entirely in 2018, and others are drastically reducing their exposure on the exchanges.

Some 49 counties across four states will be left without an insurance provider on the state exchanges and as many as 1,300 counties — approximately 40 percent of counties nationwide — could be left with only one insurance provider in 2018. (RELATED: 49 Counties Left With No Insurance Provider In 2018)

The results of the Gallup poll are based on over 46,000 interviews with U.S. adults over the age of 18. Gallup conducted the interviews from April 1 to June 30.

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