The three-year impact of the Affordable Care Act on disparities in insurance coverage
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Objective: To estimate the impact of the major components of the ACA (Medicaid expansion, subsidized Marketplace plans, and insurance market reforms) on disparities in insurance coverage after three years. Data Source: The 2011-2016 waves of the American Community Survey (ACS), with the sample restricted to nonelderly adults. Design: We estimate a difference-in-difference-in-differences model to separately identify the effects of the nationwide and Medicaid expansion portions of the ACA using the methodology developed in the recent ACA literature. The differences come from time, state Medicaid expansion status, and local area pre-ACA uninsured rates. In order to focus on access disparities, we stratify our sample separately by income, race/ethnicity, marital status, age, gender, and geography. Principal Findings: After three years, the fully implemented ACA eliminated 43% of the coverage gap across income groups, with the Medicaid expansion accounting for this entire reduction. The ACA also reduced coverage disparities across racial groups by 23%, across marital status by 46%, and across age-groups by 36%, with these changes being partly attributable to both the Medicaid expansion and nationwide components of the law. Conclusions: The fully implemented ACA has been successful in reducing coverage disparities across multiple groups.