Eligible Uninsured African Americans: 6 in 10 Could Receive Health Insurance Marketplace Tax Credits, Medicaid or CHIP. Methodological Overview and Study Limitations


This analysis is based on ASPE analysis of the 2011 American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Sample (ACS PUMS), the best source for obtaining information about the current characteristics of the uninsured population at the state level and for smaller demographic groups. ASPE tabulations from the ACS PUMS have been adjusted to exclude estimated undocumented persons based on ASPE’s TRIM3 microsimulation model (http://trim.urban.org).16

The smallest geographic unit defined in the ACS PUMS is the Census-defined public-use microdata area (PUMA). To obtain metropolitan area estimates, we assigned PUMAs to metropolitan statistical areas based on a crosswalk created from the University of Minnesota’s Integrated Public Use Microdata Series.17

Our methodology for examples of plan premiums is described in detail in an earlier ASPE brief titled “Health Insurance Marketplace Premiums for 2014.” The full text is available online at

http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2013/MarketplacePremiums/ib_marketplace_premiums.cfm. Complete plan data for some states is available at https://www.healthcare.gov/health-plan-information/, and the remaining premium data was obtained from state Marketplace sources.

For family incomes used to estimate Marketplace and Medicaid eligibility, the “family” is defined as the “health insurance unit” (HIU). HIUs include adults plus their spouses and dependent children (ages 0 to 18, plus full-time students under age 23) living in the household, based on ASPE analysis of the ACS PUMS data.

The estimate of uninsured Medicaid-eligible adults is the number of adults age 19 older who have family (HIU) incomes below 138 percent of the FPL and live in one of the 25 Medicaid expansion states or the District of Columbia. Although the statutory threshold for Medicaid expansion set by the Affordable Care Act is 133 percent of the FPL, this brief uses 138 percent of the FPL, which is the effective threshold when the 5 percent statutory disregard is included.

We made the simplifying assumption that children in families with incomes at or below 250 percent of FPL are eligible for CHIP, and children in families with incomes between 250 percent and 400 percent of the FPL are eligible for Marketplace coverage with premium tax credits. We recognize that states have different maximum income standards for CHIP eligibility.

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