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Uninsured rate drops to five-year low as Obamacare deadline approaches

A new Gallop poll shows the uninsured rate has dropped to a five-year low.
A new Gallop poll shows the uninsured rate has dropped to a five-year low.

The rate of adults in America lacking health insurance has dropped to 15.9 percent, according to a Gallop poll published March 10. According to Gallop, the last time the uninsured rate dipped below 16 percent was in 2008. The uninsured rate at the end of 2013 was 17 percent.

Gallop surveyed more than 28,000 Americans, aged 18 and older, between Jan. 2 and Feb. 28. asking, “Do you have health insurance coverage?” The demographic making the largest gains in insurance coverage is households with incomes less than $36,000. The uninsured rate among lower-income families dropped 2.8 percent since 2013.

The poll also found that fewer Americans are getting their health insurance through their jobs. During the final quarter of 2013, 45.5 percent of those with health insurance reported they were covered through employment. This new poll shows this rate has dropped to 43.4 percent. A larger percentage of adults are now insured through Medicare, Medicaid, individual policies and military health plans.

Last week, Gallop’s survey of the uninsured found that 55 percent plan to purchase a health plan rather than pay a penalty. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), most Americans will be assessed a fine of $95 or 1 percent of adjusted gross income, whichever amount is greater, for failure to have health insurance during at least nine months during 2014.

The open enrollment period for purchasing insurance through an exchange is March 31. Special enrollment periods are available for those who experience a life change such as marriage, birth of a child or loss of a job.