Mirroring a national trend, the number of uninsured South Carolina adults declined by 7 percent from 2013 to 2015, a new report shows.
While the number of uninsured nationally dropped from 20 percent to 13 percent — even in states like South Carolina that didn’t expand Medicaid, the number in the Palmetto State dropped from 23 percent to 16 percent, according to the report from the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that advocates for a better health care system.
The decline was attributed to the Affordable Care Act.
“The Affordable Care Act’s health insurance coverage expansions are working to get people covered and help them afford health care,” said Sara Collins, vice president for coverage and access at the fund.
“We know that health insurance is essential for people to get the care they need,” she added. “In this time of uncertainty about the ACA, it’s important to keep in mind the financial and health protection health insurance provides for families.”
According to the report, the uninsured rate among whites dropped from 14 percent to 9 percent nationally and from 18 percent to 13 percent in South Carolina, among blacks it dropped from 24 percent to 15 percent nationally and from 27 percent to 18 percent in South Carolina, among Hispanics from 40 percent to 28 percent nationally and from 56 percent to 45 percent in the state.
The rate among low-income people fell from 38 percent to 25 percent nationally and from 39 percent to 29 percent in South Carolina.
South Carolina was in the third quartile of states based on the uninsured adult population.
The report also found that the rate of uninsured children declined by two percentage points or more in 28 states since 2013, and that the number of people who skipped the doctor when they were sick because of costs also dropped.
Also, states with the largest share of high out-of-pocket spending were in the South and West.
“Tracking state-level progress is essential as we work toward a health system that offers affordable, high-quality health care for everyone,” said Dr. David Blumenthal, Commonwealth Fund president. “These findings reveal that states have come a long way in the past few years and uninsured rates are at historic lows.”
To read the full report, go to http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Publications/Issue-Briefs/2016/Dec/State-Progress-Coverage-and-Access.