The Uninsured
Athletes’ Union on the Horizon

Health Insurance Surge

By Jonathan B. Wight

According to the Los Angeles Times, analysis of enrollments show that 9.5 million previously uninsured Americans now have health insurance under the new law.

Health care

About 5 million of these previously uninsured are receiving private health care coverage (3 million are young people now covered by their parents, and 2 million new accounts from exchanges).  About 4.5 million are poor people signing up for Medicaid.

In total, about 6 million people signed up using exchanges, of which 4 million previously had other kinds of insurance. 

As previously discussed, health insurance is a good thing, and greater participation in health insurance is therefore desirable if it means fewer negative externalities (e.g., an insured person needing emergency room treatment paid for by government). 

One other important aspect is pricing.  The new health care exchanges have allowed millions of people who were paying very high premiums to pool themselves into larger groups and dramatically lower their monthly premiums.*  Some of this is simply redistribution, from those without pre-existing conditions to those with them.  But some of the drop is possibly due to the more competitive market with deeper pools of people that create lower risk for the insurance provider. 

(*Some really cheap policies are slated for elimination.  But these cases appear to be quite small in number.  Someone buying a cheap policy may really just be passing along the true cost to others, as noted above.)


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