September 15, 2017

WASHINGTON – Following the release of data from the U.S. Census Bureau from the 2016 American Community Survey, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) highlighted significant reductions in uninsured for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities.

The uninsured rate significantly decreased for AAs, from 7.5 percent in 2015 to 6.5 percent, while NHPIs remained statistically unchanged at 7.7 percent. Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed in 2010, uninsurance has decreased by 57 percent for AAs and by 47 percent for NHPIs, among the most of any other race or ethnic groups.

“The continued decline in the number of people without coverage across the county, and particularly within AA and NHPI communities, underscores the verifiable success of the ACA and the importance of such data,” said Kathy Ko Chin, APIAHF president and CEO. “As the gold standard for creating an accurate picture of coverage in the U.S., Census data is fundamental not only to informing our continued enrollment efforts, but identifying gaps that remain. This is why it is so critical that the Census and American Community Survey be fully funded.”

The data show significant drops in the uninsured between 2015 and 2016 for many AA and NHPI subgroups, with some of the largest declines for Native Hawaiians (20 percent drop), Cambodians (20 percent), and Pakistanis (18 percent). Some subgroups, including Bangladeshi, Korean, and Pakistani, still have double-digit uninsured rates, highlighting the continued need to promote enrollment.

Alabama, Kansas, and North Carolina had the highest reported uninsured rates for AAs, and Massachusetts, Hawaii, and Minnesota had the lowest rates. Some of the lowest rates of uninsured were among states that expanded their Medicaid programs, continuing previous trends in research showing Medicaid expansion [is tied to declines in uninsured rates]9https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2015/09/16/income-poverty-and-health-insurance-united-states-2014 “is tied to declines in uninsured rates”).