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How Are Moms Faring under the Affordable Care Act? Evidence through 2014

May 2016

Michael Karpman, Jason Gates, Genevieve M. Kenny, Stacey McMorrow


This article provides data from the National Health Interview Survey from 1997-2014 to examine trends in uninsurance among mothers. It compares changes in uninsurance rates among mothers living in states where Medicaid expanded coverage, to mothers in states that did not expand coverage. It also examines the changes in the rate of uninsured mothers between 2013 and 2014 – the years before and after key coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act were implemented. Last, the composition of uninsured mothers was analyzed, including the rates of uninsurance among mothers in subgroups divided by education level, income level, race/ethnicity, citizenship, and self-reported general health status.

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Policy Implications

Between 2013 and 2014, rates of uninsurance fell among every subgroup of mothers except for those with incomes above 400% of the federal poverty line, those with a college education, and those living in the northeast. In addition, the decline in uninsurance between 2013-2014 was highest among mothers living in Medicaid expansion states and the rate of uninsurance among mothers in 2014 overall was at the lowest rate since 1997. While it would be easy to attribute the falling rates to the implementation of the coverage provisions of ACA, other factors such as an improving economy could have had an effect on more mothers gaining health insurance coverage.

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