Census: More New Jerseyans Gain Health Insurance

The share of New Jerseyans without insurance is now 8.7 percent.

Published on Sep 13, 2016 in Health

Census Data: Number of New Jerseyans Without Health Insurance Continues to DropAffordable Care Act’s Impact Continues to Be Seen in Annual Census Reports

slide1Unprecedented progress has been made in increasing the number of New Jerseyans with health insurance as a result of the Affordable Care Act, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau released today shows. The number of people with coverage increased in 2015 for two main reasons: New Jersey’s decision to expand Medicaid to reach the poorest residents who otherwise couldn’t afford health insurance, and the success of the health insurance marketplace in making insurance more affordable for low- and moderate-income New Jerseyans. This new report is particularly important because 2015 is the first year when the ACA was fully implemented, and the census data rivals all other studies in quality because of its large sample size.

The share of New Jerseyans without insurance has dropped to 8.7 percent in 2015 from 13.2 percent in 2013 – a decrease of 34 percent. This was close to the national average percent decrease, which was 35.2 percent. The number of uninsured New Jerseyans decreased by 389,000 – just 771,000 lacked insurance in 2015 compared to 1,160,000 in 2013.

Since the Medicaid expansion started, about 480,000 additional New Jerseyans have enrolled, exceeding all projections. Thanks to New Jersey’s decision to expand Medicaid to help more people who can’t afford private insurance, more people are getting the care they need to go to work, take care of their kids, and be healthy, productive members of their community.

New Jersey is also saving about a half billion dollars a year as a result of the Medicaid expansion because it was rewarded under the ACA for expanding eligibility in NJ FamilyCare and it has reduced the state’s charity payments to hospitals. New Jersey leads the nation for its savings from the Medicaid expansion.

In spite of the fact that three insurers have recently left the marketplace, it has made revolutionary changes in New Jersey’s individual market and still offers many plans to choose from. Prior to the marketplace, the number of New Jerseyans purchasing comprehensive insurance had been decreasing for nearly two decades, owing to the nation’s highest premium rates that made this coverage unaffordable for middle-class families. The ACA changed that by making premium subsidies available to over 80 percent of everyone enrolling in the marketplace, which has helped make insurance much more affordable for about 250,000 New Jerseyans.