As Obamacare kicked in, coverage went up, survey shows


More than 3.6 million people gained insurance coverage in the first quarter of this year, according to a new Gallup survey. The increase in coverage corresponds with the new Obamacare rule that went into effect in January, requiring all Americans to obtain insurance.

The uninsured rate now stands at 15.6 percent, according to Gallup, down 1.5 percent in three months. Gallup conducted 43,500 interviews with U.S. adults from Jan. 2 to March 31, and the survey's margin of error is 1 percent.

Since hitting an all-time high of 18 percent in the third quarter of 2013, the uninsured rate has been dropping, suggesting that the core aim of the Affordable Care Act -- to get more Americans health insurance -- is working.

President Obama last week announced that, by the time open enrollment closed on the new Obamacare marketplaces, 7.1 million Americans had signed up for private health coverage. On top of that, the administration said last week, 3 million additional Americans had enrolled in Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) by the end of February.

It's unclear, however, how many Americans who enrolled in the Obamacare marketplaces were gaining health care coverage for the first time. It's also unclear how many of those people who signed up for coverage have actually paid for their coverage.

To keep the marketplace robust, health care experts have said that the demographics of Obamacare enrollees should mirror the demographics of the uninsured population -- in other words, younger, healthier adults should make up about 40 percent of the marketplace. However, the Gallup survey showed that the uninsured rate dropped by the same amount -- 2 points -- among adults ages 18 to 25 and adults ages 26 to 64.