Under Obamacare, New Jersey cuts number of uninsured by half

    A new analysis by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has found that the number of adults younger than 64 without health insurance in New Jersey has dropped from 21.2 percent to 10.5 percent in just nine months.

    The latest percentage, which was determined by the Urban Institute’s Health Reform Monitoring Survey in June, is the lowest since 1990.

    “This is really a big achievement,” said RWJF researcher Katherine Hempstead. “We’ve had a huge reduction in the uninsurance rate in just a period of a year, so it shows that people really are responsive to these opportunities and health insurance is a priority for a lot of people.”

    The drop in uninsured people in New Jersey continues the trend observed since the Affordable Care Act went into effect in January, which had fallen to 13.2 percent as of March. The new numbers for June translate to more than half a million new Garden State residents with coverage since September of 2013.

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    The survey was too small to determine the types of insurance behind that decrease. But Hempstead said it’s likely a mix of new healthcare.gov sign-ups and new Medicaid enrollees.

    “Part of the increase is new people coming into the individual market,” she said. “But I think we’re going to find that more of the increase is due to people taking advantage of the expansion of Medicaid.”

    Medicaid expansion is a powerful force nationally, too. States that did not expand Medicaid average a full 8 percentage points more in their uninsured rate than states like New Jersey that did.

    The Garden State’s early success, however, may mean a plateau in the future. According to other national surveys, Hempstead said holdouts tend to be those with smaller incomes who have decided insurance is still too expensive, even with the Obamacare subsidies.

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