June 21, 2024

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Medicaid challenges leave many Black Americans uninsured

2 min read

Recent changes to Medicaid programs, aimed at closing a health coverage gap in the U.S., have left behind some Americans — particularly people of color.

Among the non-elderly population in the U.S. — those under age 65 — insured rates rose during the Covid pandemic, with 3.4 million Americans enrolling in health coverage between 2019 and 2022, according to a report by KFF. That shift was due in part to the Medicaid and health care marketplace provisions put in place as a result of the Affordable Care Act, the report said.

But as the global health crisis waned and Medicaid coverage expansions faced delays in some states, insured rates fell and Black Americans remained disproportionately uninsured compared with white Americans, according to KFF, formerly known as Kaiser Permanente.

In 2022, 10% of Black Americans were uninsured, compared with 6.6% of white Americans. Black people were 1.5 times more likely to be uninsured than their white peers in 2022, the report said. People who identified as American Indian or Alaskan Native were 2.9 times more likely than their white counterparts to be uninsured, while Hispanic Americans were 2.7 times more likely to be uninsured.

“The biggest driver of the racial coverage gap is the states that have not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act,” said Jenn Wagner, a director at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “Those states have a higher population of Black individuals who are unable to access Medicaid coverage because they don’t fit into one of the eligibility categories within that state.”

Medicaid, a joint program between the federal government and states, offers health insurance to low-income adults and children. The Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, included a provision to expand Medicaid coverage to people at lower income levels who may not be covered by private insurers. But not all states have expanded the coverage requirements, according to KFF.

In those states that haven’t expanded Medicaid,…

2024-02-29 16:37:56

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