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District's Uninsured Rate Drops by Half

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Washington, DC – A new survey by the Center for the Study of Services conducted for the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority (DCHBX) concludes that the District of Columbia made huge gains during the most recent open enrollment period to provide access to health insurance coverage to people who were previously uninsured. Results from this survey show that more than 25,500 people, who were not previously covered in 2015, gained access to health insurance coverage in 2016 through DC Health Link, the District’s online health insurance marketplace.

"Reducing the number of District residents who are uninsured by half in just three years is a tremendous achievement through strong efforts by DCHBX, DHCF, DHS, DISB, DOH and other sister agencies, as well as our community partners,” said Mila Kofman, Executive Director of the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority.

Earlier this year, DCHBX surveyed those who used DC Health Link during the open enrollment period from November 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016. Leighton Ku, PhD, MPH, Chair of the Research Committee of the Executive Board of DCHBX and professor of health policy at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University, coordinated analysis of the survey.

“Clearly, the Affordable Care Act is working in the District of Columbia,” said Dr. Leighton Ku. “We are working together to be a national model for increasing insurance coverage and improving access to health care for District residents and small businesses.”

Additional findings show:

  • 25% of the people who enrolled in individual private health insurance coverage during the most recent open enrollment period were uninsured prior to getting coverage through DC Health Link.
  • 53% of the people who were determined eligible for Medicaid were uninsured before applying.
  • 40% of the small businesses enrolled in DC Health Link did not offer health insurance to their employees prior to enrollment through DC Health Link.

This new survey by DCHBX confirms the results of three recent national studies showing that DC Health Link is having a major impact on reducing the rate of the uninsured in the District of Columbia. These national studies were performed by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Kaiser Family Foundation. The studies conclude that the number of uninsured people in the District has been cut in half since 2013, the year DC Health Link opened for business. These studies also show that the rate of the uninsured in the District is between 3.7% - 4%, which places DC’s uninsured rate as the first, second, or third lowest in the country, depending on the study.

View results of the DCHBX survey here.