NEW REPORT: Urban Institute analysis of the ACA’s impact on Connecticut

July 19, 2017

HARTFORD, Conn. (July 19, 2017) – The Affordable Care Act is responsible for a 45 percent reduction in Connecticut’s uninsured rate, as well as new consumer protections for the nearly 1.9 million state residents with employer-sponsored coverage and nearly 600,000 with Medicare, according to a new report released this week by the Connecticut Health Foundation.

The report, based on an analysis by the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center, also found that the federal health law is responsible for a 61 percent reduction in the amount of uncompensated care delivered to uninsured patients, and has brought millions of dollars into Connecticut to foster public and private-sector innovation in health care financing and delivery.

The report is intended to provide an assessment of the effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on Connecticut, offering context on what could be at stake as federal lawmakers consider changes to the health law. The report identifies ways the ACA has benefited Connecticut residents, as well as the law’s downsides and ways it could be improved.

“Our goal is for decisions to be made with good data and an understanding of the implications on people’s lives,” said Patricia Baker, president and CEO of the Connecticut Health Foundation. “We commissioned this analysis to document what is at stake as lawmakers consider significant changes to the health care system. We hope this measure of the current status of coverage in Connecticut provides a baseline on which to measure the impact of future reforms.”

“This report helps us understand what’s working in health care reform, and what needs more work. Residents across the nation have benefited significantly from the ACA, and Connecticut is committed to continuing efforts to make health care more affordable and accessible,” said Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, who chairs the board of Access Health CT, the state’s health insurance exchange. “I thank the Connecticut Health Foundation and the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center for their commitment to a stronger health care system for everyone.”

The Urban Institute’s projections compare actual coverage and costs in 2017 under the ACA to estimates for the same year without the ACA.

>>> Read the full report and download fact sheets for specific Connecticut demographic groups and cities and counties.

Among the key findings:

Connecticut’s uninsured rate would be almost twice as high without the Affordable Care Act

The state’s four largest cities have seen significant drops in the number of uninsured residents because of the ACA

  • In New Haven and Waterbury, the number of uninsured residents under age 65 would be nearly twice as high without the ACA.
  • Bridgeport’s uninsured rate for nonelderly residents would be more than 50% higher and Hartford’s would be more than 60% higher without the ACA.

People of color, state residents without a college education, workers, and young adults are disproportionately represented among those who gained coverage under the ACA

More than 300,000 Connecticut residents are currently covered through the Medicaid expansion and health insurance exchange created by the ACA. According to the Urban Institute’s modeling, roughly 161,500 people covered by the ACA would have no access to health insurance without the law.

Of the approximately 161,500 state residents who are covered because of the ACA and who would likely lose coverage without it:

  • 46% are people of color, including 23% who are Latino, and 14% who are black
  • 61% were not educated beyond high school
  • 81% live in working families, including 68% in families with full-time workers
  • 40% are young adults ages 19 to 34

The ACA affected the health benefits of nearly all state residents, including those covered by Medicare and employer-sponsored insurance

  • All private insurance plans and Medicare must now cover check-ups, cancer screenings, and other preventive services with no out-of-pocket costs to patients.
  • Insurance plans cannot impose annual or lifetime coverage limits, which were common before the ACA and often caused people with high medical costs – such as for cancer treatment or care after a car accident – to face significant financial burdens, often leading to bankruptcy.

The ACA cut uncompensated care delivered to the uninsured by hospitals, doctors and other providers by 61%

A series of 10 fact sheets accompanying the report provide data on the health law’s impact on six localities – Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, Waterbury, Litchfield County, and Windham County – and four demographic groups – black Connecticut residents, Latinos, women, and young adults.

The report was prepared by Stan Dorn, Matthew Buettgens, and Robin Wang of the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center. The estimates are based on the Urban Institute’s Health Insurance Policy Simulation Model, which is based primarily on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

For more information, please contact Arielle Levin Becker at 860-724-1580 x 16 or arielle@cthealth.org.