17 million gained coverage under ObamaCare, study finds

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Around 17 million people have gained health insurance since the core of ObamaCare took effect in 2013, according to a RAND Corp. study released Wednesday. 

The study finds that 22.8 million people signed up for coverage between September 2013 and February 2015, while 5.9 million lost coverage, leading to a net gain of 16.9 million. 

“The Affordable Care Act has greatly expanded health insurance coverage, but it has caused little change in the way most previously-covered Americans are getting health insurance coverage,” said Katherine Carman, the study's lead author and an economist at RAND.

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While there was much concern about plans being canceled because of ObamaCare, the study notes that the number of people losing coverage was close to the same level it was previously. 

“We found that the vast majority of those with individual market insurance in 2013 remained insured in 2015, which suggests that even among those who had their individual market policies canceled, most found coverage through an alternative source,” the study states. 

Still, it finds that 600,000 people who had individual market coverage before ObamaCare ended up uninsured. 

The study finds that 4.1 million people, or 37 percent, of those signing up through the law’s marketplaces were previously uninsured. For those gaining Medicaid coverage, 6.5 million, or 52 percent, were previously uninsured. 

The largest source of people gaining coverage, according to the study, was employer-sponsored insurance, with 9.6 million people enrolling. This figure is larger than in other studies, and RAND notes that it could be “idiosyncratic” to the study’s sample, rather than an accurate result. 

The figures in the study are based off a survey of about 1,600 people who were asked about their insurance over the period of September 2013 to February 2015.

The Obama administration has touted a similar estimate, based on Gallup polling data, that 16.4 million people gained coverage under the law.