Subsidized Marketplace Purchases Reduced Racial Disparities in Private Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act
AbstractThe Affordable Care Act ’s Marketplaces, by allowing subsidized purchase of insurance coverage by persons with incomes from the poverty line to middle income, and through active outreach and enrollment assistance efforts, are well situated to reduce large African American-white private coverage disparities. Using data fr om the National Health Interview Survey for multiyear periods before and after Affordable Care Act implementation, from 2011–2013 to 2015–2018, this study assessed how much disparity reduction occurred when Marketplaces were implemented. Analysis compared private coverage take-up by African Amer icans and whites for persons with incomes between 100 and 400% of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL), controlling for African American-white income differences and other covariates. African Americans’ gains were significantly greater than whites’ and disparities did close. However, both groups gaine d considerably less coverage than they might have, and some disparity remained. To make ongoing operations more effective and to guide future subsidy extensions and increases as enacted in the American Rescue Plan, more research is needed into the incentive value of subsidies and to discover which M arketplace outreach and enrollment assistance efforts were most effective. In advancing these aims, high priority should be given to identifying strategies that were particularly successful in reaching and engaging uninsured African Americans.