Cover Michigan Survey: The Uninsured in Michigan

May 31, 2016

Medical symbols in blue with "Affordable Care Act" written in the center.

This brief examines the characteristics of those in Michigan who reported being uninsured, approximately two years after the ACA’s major coverage provisions went into effect beginning in 2014.

A major goal of the Affordable Care Act was to reduce the number of Americans who are uninsured. The main provisions of the law that were intended to help achieve that reduction include: 1) the individual mandate, 2) the expansion of Medicaid, 3) the creation of the health insurance marketplaces and the introduction of subsidies for individuals purchasing coverage, 4) the extension of coverage to adult children up to age 26, and 5) requirements that certain employers offer affordable health insurance coverage or pay a penalty.

Requirements that insurers cover those with preexisting conditions and prohibitions on rescission of coverage were also intended to further expand the number of Americans with access to affordable coverage. Because of these policies, estimates show that 16 million Americans gained insurance between 2010 and 2015. Nevertheless, an estimated 29 million Americans remained uninsured in 2015.

Our study of the uninsured in Michigan in 2014 and 2015 is based on data from the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation’s (CHRT) 2015 Cover Michigan Survey of Michigan adults, fielded between October and December 2015. Comparison data is drawn from the 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2014 Cover Michigan Surveys.

Key findings include:

Since 2009, Michigan’s uninsured rate has declined dramatically. Specifically:

  • 5 percent of respondents reported being uninsured at the time of the survey. By comparison, in 2012, 14 percent of respondents reported being uninsured.
  • More than twice as many respondents reported having been uninsured at some point during the year before the survey than were uninsured at the time of the survey, indicating that many of the uninsured gained or regained coverage relatively quickly.
  • 41 percent of the uninsured reported annual household incomes below $30,000, and 54 percent reported incomes between $30,000 and $59,999.
  • Half of uninsured respondents worked full time.
  • 64 percent of the uninsured were male.
  • 39 percent of uninsured respondents were between the ages of 18 and 30.
  • Half of uninsured respondents lived in small cities or towns.