Immigrants, Unemployed Gained Most In ACA Exchanges' First Year

Apr 18, 2016

In 2014, the percentage of construction workers with health insurance increases from 64 to almost 69.
Credit Jon Fleshman via Flickr / U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Immigrants saw the steepest gains in health insurance coverage in 2014, the first year for enrollment on the Affordable Care Act's exchanges and Medicaid's expansion, according to a New York Times analysis of census data. Hispanics accounted for nearly one third of the increase in adults with insurance. A smaller percentage of blacks gained coverage, according to the Times, because most poor blacks live in states that chose not to expand Medicaid. 

By job, the unemployed saw the greatest increase in coverage, followed by workers in fields like agriculture, food services construction and retail. According to the Times​, the law's implementation in 2014 reversed a trend:

By the end of that first full year, 2014, so many low-income people gained coverage that it halted the decades-long expansion of the gap between the haves and the have-nots in the American health insurance system, a striking change at a time when disparities between rich and poor are growing in many areas.

But some who enrolled that first year still struggle to afford their premiums.

 Alberto Torres, 50, a driver for a garment company in Los Angeles who could not afford insurance before the law, had signed up for a plan in 2014 for $41 a month. But this year his monthly premium jumped to $106 — too much, he said, for his meager salary.

Read the full report: 

Immigrants, the Poor and Minorities Gain Sharply Under Health Act