Health insurance coverage reaches historic high in WI

Wisconsin State Farmer
The number of people enrolled in health care plans rose dramatically after the creation of the ACA.

Madison — The Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare", includes several provisions that were intended to get health insurance coverage to uninsured citizens.

In Wisconsin, health insurance coverage went up from 90.9 percent in 2013 to 94.3 percent in 2015. Wisconsin now has the highest health insurance coverage rate since data became available, and ranks 7th among all the states in terms of the share of residents covered by some form of health insurance. In 2015, Wisconsin retained its long-standing position as one of the best-covered states in the nation.

The recent analysis by the Applied Population Laboratory at UW-Madison also shows evidence of historic gains in health insurance coverage among working-aged adults (ages 18-64). Coverage for working-aged adults was up significantly in all but three states last year.

Health insurance coverage for working-aged adults went from 84 percent in 2014 to 87 percent in 2015 nationally, and from 87 percent to 90 percent in Wisconsin--the highest rate of insurance coverage in history. Health insurance coverage also increased among children and people living below or near the poverty level.

Much of this increase in coverage can be attributed to provisions of the Affordable Care Act, which aimed to reduce the number of US residents without health insurance. 2015 was the first full year after the implementation of major aspects of the new law, including the individual requirement to have insurance, new rules and tools for individuals purchasing insurance plans, subsidies of individual insurance plans for qualifying people, and (in some states–but not Wisconsin) an extension to public health insurance for people living near the poverty line.

The effects of these policy changes are evident in the historically high health insurance coverage shown in this analysis–particularly among working-aged adults.