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State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman claimed the state's uninsured rate has been cut in half since 2013. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News) State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman claimed the state's uninsured rate has been cut in half since 2013. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman claimed the state's uninsured rate has been cut in half since 2013. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

By Dan Clark July 24, 2017

Since Obamacare, far fewer New Yorkers are uninsured

With Republicans lacking the votes to "repeal and replace" Obamacare, or to even undo major parts of the law without replacing them, Democrats tout President Barack Obama’s signature legislation a success story in New York state.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman asserted the number of people without health insurance fell by half over the past four years.

"Since 2013 we have cut our uninsured in half from 10 percent up to 5 percent of our population," Schneiderman said.

The state’s health insurance exchange, NY State of Health, started accepting customers in 2013. States were mandated to either create their own exchanges or participate in one from the federal government.

More than 3.6 million people in New York state have enrolled in a health plan through the state exchange since it began, according to the state Department of Health.

But is Schneiderman right that the uninsured rate in New York has been cut in half since the exchange began?

Data on uninsured New Yorkers

According to Centers for Disease Control data, 10.6 percent of New York state’s population did not have health insurance in 2012, the year before the state health exchange was established.

By 2015, the uninsured rate was 4.9 percent, but it increased to 5.4 percent in 2016 - still about half the rate before the law.

Explaining the decrease

Does Obama's Affordable Care Act deserve the credit? Experts we spoke to said the rate dropped because the state health exchange gave people an easier way to compare health plans online, and premiums dropped 53 percent the first year of the exchange. Average premiums have since increased.

"It’s really just been an incredible boom for New York state, the Affordable Care Act," said Elisabeth Benjamin, vice president of health initiatives at the Community Serve Society of New York.

New York state also opted into an option in Obamacare that provides low-cost health insurance to people who make too much for Medicaid but not enough to buy insurance. More than 665,000 state residents have enrolled in the plan since it first became available in 2015, Benjamin said. New York and Minnesota are the only two states with this option.

The state also expanded the income threshold for Medicaid eligibility. That allowed some people to get coverage through Medicaid.

Our ruling

Schneiderman said "we have been able to cut New York’s uninsured rate in half since 2013 from 10 percent to 5 percent."

He’s right on the numbers. The uninsured rate in 2013 was 9.6 percent. The latest data shows it at 5.4 percent in 2016.

We rate his claim as True.

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"We have been able to cut New York’s uninsured rate in half since 2013 from 10 percent to 5 percent of our population."
New York
Monday, July 17, 2017

Our Sources

Video: Attorney General Eric Schneiderman speaks at Mount Sinai on July 17, 2017

Transcript of Schneiderman’s speech at the Association for a Better New York’s Power Breakfast, June 27, 2017

Email conversation with Amy Spitalnick, spokesperson for Schneiderman

Phone conversation with Amy Shefrin, program officer at the New York State Health Foundation

Phone conversation with Elisabeth Benjamin, vice president of health initiatives at the Community Serve Society of New York

Email conversation with press staff from the Centers for Disease Control

Data on Uninsured Population from the Centers for Disease Control: 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016

"Health Plan Cost for New Yorkers Set to Fall 50%", July 16, 2013, New York Times

"State insurers to seek rate hike for 2018 ObamaCare policies", May 15, 2017, New York Post

Information on the Essential Plan from NY State of Health

Enrollment data from NY State of Health, May 2017

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Dan Clark

Since Obamacare, far fewer New Yorkers are uninsured

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