Unemployed more likely to have health insurance now, poll finds


The uninsured rate has dropped more than six points among jobless Americans since the Obamacare marketplaces, a new Gallup survey has found. Among Americans overall, the uninsured rate dropped just a modest 1.2 percent.

Based on interviews with more than 9,000 Americans conducted between Jan. 2-19, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index found that 34.1 percent of unemployed Americans don’t have health insurance -- down from 40.8 percent in December. The survey has a one-point margin of error.

The decrease suggests that the new Obamacare marketplaces -- designed largely to serve Americans who don’t have employer-sponsored insurance -- could be working as designed. However, the poll provides only an early glimpse of the Affordable Care Act’s impact, and Gallup notes that the uninsured rate has fluctuated at other points over the years for various reasons.

Other findings, meanwhile, are less significant. The percentage of uninsured American adults overall dipped from 17.3 percent in December to just 16.1 percent in January. And among adults ages 18 to 34 -- a demographic group that will be key for the new marketplaces’ success -- the uninsured rate fell just 0.2 percent, from 24.7 percent to 24.5 percent.

According to the Obama administration, nearly 2.2 million Americans had signed up for private insurance via the new Obamacare marketplaces as of Dec. 28. The administration is aiming for about 7 million enrollees by the time open enrollment closes on March 31.