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Health reform may cut number of uninsured in half Posted: December 21st, 2010

By Maryalene LaPonsie

Using a Health Insurance Policy Simulation Model it created, the Urban Institute reports that health reform could lead to medical coverage for 27.8 million uninsured Americans. According to the institute's figures, if health reform were fully phased in for 2010, it would reduce the number of uninsured from 18.6 percent to 8.3 percent of the non-elderly population.

Of those currently uninsured, the Urban Institute projects that health reform would provide access to health insurance in the following ways:

  • 30 percent would be covered by expansions to Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  • 20 percent would find medical coverage through the new Health Insurance Exchanges
  • 10 percent would locate private health insurance outside the exchanges
  • 40 percent would remain uninsured

The model determined that 40 percent of those who remain uninsured would be eligible for Medicaid or CHIP coverage but choose not to apply. Another quarter of the remaining uninsured would be illegal immigrants who are ineligible for government programs and who may not participate in the Health Insurance Exchanges.

With the number of uninsured dropping dramatically, the Urban Institute estimates that the cost of uncompensated care in the United States will drop 61 percent which will free up state and federal dollars that are now used to subsidize this care.