The number of Americans without health insurance rose by 1.9 million last year, the first increase since the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2013, after the Trump Administration weakened efforts to enroll more people.

Uninsured residents totaled 27.5 million, or 8.5% of the country, a half-percentage point more than 2017, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday. The increase was mostly due to a 0.4% drop in the percentage of people who receive coverage through a government program.

Analysts had been expecting the increase in uninsured, the Los Angeles Times reported. The administration cut outreach programs and supported new state policies making it harder to enroll in Medicaid, the government’s healthcare program for lower-income families and individuals, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The jump in the number of people without coverage was the first annual increase since 2009. The Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, had cut the number of uninsured to a historic low by offering government-subsidized private coverage and by expanding Medicaid to low-income people.

  • Healthcare costs for Americans with coverage skyrocketed over the last decade. An average family of four with large employer-provided insurance spent $7,726 on premiums and cost sharing in 2018, according to a study from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a whopping 67% increase from 2008. 
  • Services are popping up to help close the gap in healthcare through remote diagnostics and monitoring tools that may reduce costs. Care Angel, for instance, works with large providers and insurers acts like a nurse to  check in remotely with patients who need chronic care.  
  • The U.S. spends more per capita on healthcare than other developed nations, mainly due to higher prices, according to a study released this year by Johns Hopkins University researchers. The U.S. spent $9,892 per person in 2016, 25% more than second-place Switzerland with $7,919.  

Karma Take: As the number of insured rises and costs climb, opportunities increase for startups who can provide healthcare in a less expensive manner.