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District’s Uninsured Rate Drops by 43% in DC Health Link’s First Year

Tuesday, December 30, 2014
New study finds 18,399 previously uninsured people now have health insurance coverage through new online marketplace.

New study concludes that the number of uninsured people in the District dropped by as much as 43% as a result of previously uninsured people signing up for coverage through DC Health Link during its first year of operation.

"Implementing Presidents Obama’s landmark health reform law has been a priority for my administration and I am pleased that we have successfully cut the uninsured rate by nearly half in DC Health Link’s first year of operations,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “The new online marketplace is truly working for District residents and is a model for the rest of the nation.”

Today’s report concludes that 18,399 previously uninsured District residents gained health insurance coverage through DC Health Link’s individual and family marketplace. This includes newly insured people who enrolled in private health insurance and those who were determined eligible for Medicaid (public coverage). The number of uninsured in the District was reduced from an estimated 42,295 (6.7% of the District’s population in 2013) by 18,399 (2.9%). Every ward saw reductions in uninsured.

“I am absolutely thrilled by this news. DC has always made the health of its residents a priority and today's new statistics only solidify our commitment to that end. Cutting our rate of uninsured residents in half was no easy feat. I commend the work of our Health Benefit Exchange and all of those dedicated to its mission of providing quality health care coverage. I am very excited to see what the future holds," said Councilmember Yvette Alexander.

The analysis was conducted for the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority (HBX) by Leighton Ku, PhD, MPH, Chair of the Research Committee of the Executive Board of HBX and professor of health policy at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University.

“This shows that our efforts to cover uninsured people are working well.” said Dr. Leighton Ku. “The District has had one of the lowest uninsured rates in the Nation and we continue to be a leader to achieve near universal coverage for all District residents.”

The analysis is based on HBX surveys of people enrolled in private individual health insurance marketplace and those determined eligible for Medicaid through DC Health Link. About 23% of the privately insured enrollees and 55% of the Medicaid eligible people reported they were uninsured before they applied for coverage through DC Health Link. The survey did not include enrollees through SHOP – the marketplace that serves small businesses and Congress.


The Affordable Care Act provides individuals, families, and small businesses in the District of Columbia with affordable options for quality health insurance through a new online health insurance marketplace called DC Health Link. Residents can also apply for public insurance called Medicaid. There are 31 different private health insurance options from Aetna, CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Kaiser Permanente for individuals and families. There are 193 private health insurance options for small businesses from Aetna, CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, Kaiser Permanente, and United Healthcare.

For individuals and families open enrollment began November 15, 2014 and ends February 15, 2015. People can apply for Medicaid coverage any time during the year. Small businesses can enroll any time during the year. Additionally, residents who qualify for a special enrollment period, for reasons such as losing their job or moving to the District, can enroll through when they have a triggering event any time during the year.

DC Health Link Assisters including Mary’s Center, Whitman Walker, Unity, and New Bethel Baptist Church provide in-person help to all residents. For a complete list of assisters and insurance brokers, download DC Health Link app at Google Play or iTunes.

DC Health Link is endorsed by the DC Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, and the National Association of Health Underwriters.