The Affordable Care Act and Nursing
There has been a lot of debate about The Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. Regardless of your opinion of the ACA, there is a lot that you may want to know before passing judgment. For instance, over 16.4 million uninsured Americans have gained health coverage since enactment of the ACA in March 2010. Additionally, it is estimated that hospitals will save $5.7 billion in uncompensated care costs because more people will have insurance. With the multitude of changes in the medical industry in recent years, what effect will the program have on nurses as the program continues to grow?
To learn more about the Affordable Care Act and its influence on nursing, checkout this infographic below created by Norwich University’s Online Master of Science in Nursing program.
The Rate of Uninsured Americans by Income
Currently, the number of uninsured Americans with an annual income of $90,000 stands at 2.4%. On the other hand, 3% of taxpayers with an annual income ranging from $36,000 to $89,000 are uninsured. Lastly, 6.9% of Americans earning under $36,000 are uninsured.
As from January 1, 2015, businesses with over 100 employees are required by law to provide health coverage to over 70% of their employees. By 2016, firms with 50 or more employees will be required to provide health insurance to over 95% of their employees. Any American who does not want to get a health cover will be subjected to a fine of $695 or 2.5% of their annual income. This will see the number of uninsured Americans reduced drastically.
The Impact of ACA on Healthcare Systems and Hospitals
From 1990 to 2008, the national healthcare expenditure relative to GDP grew at the rate of 2% annually. From 2012 to 2013, however, the rate is expected to drop to an average of 1.1%. Since more people now have insurance, hospitals are expected to save around $5.7 annually in uncompensated care costs. This is according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
The ACA has a direct impact on the economy as it is also expected to create 5.6 million new jobs at an annual rate of 3% through to the year 2020. According to the government, 60% of newly insured U.S. residents (through the ACA) visited a doctor, paid for a prescription or went to the hospital during the year.
Current Hiring Trends for Nurses
An estimated 2.9 million registered nurses are currently active in the U.S. workforce. 91% of registered nurses currently practicing in the country have graduate degrees. On the other hand, the median salary for registered nurses is $96,600.
Where do Registered Nurses Work?
Hospitals employ 63.2% of registered nurses. On the other hand, nursing care facilities and health care services employ 7.3% and 5.4% respectively, while physician offices and outpatient care centers employ 4.7% and 4.6% of registered nurses respectively.
States with the Highest Number of RN’s Per 100,000 People
Washington State has 1,666 RN’s per 100,000 people while South Dakota, Massachusetts, Nebraska and Maine have 1,247, 1,239, 1,227 and 1,215 RN’s respectively per 100,000 people.
Projections on Future Hiring Trends in the Nursing Industry
Generally, the employment opportunities for registered nurses are expected to grow in the future. In 2015, there are 2.9 million registered nurses. The number is expected to increase by 525,000 to 3.5 million by 2025. This increase plus the job openings arising from retirement and attrition increases the number of job openings to 1.05 million by 2022.
In the year 2025, some states that are projected to have the greatest shortfall in the number of registered nurses in active service include; Arizona, Colorado and North Carolina. Arizona, for instance, is projected to have 28,000 fewer registered nurses by 2025 while Colorado and North Carolina are projected to have 13,000 fewer registered nurses each.
The Impact of an Aging Population
In 2010, only 13% of the U.S. population was aged 65 years or older. However, this number is expected to increase drastically by 2030 when over 20% of U.S. residents are projected to be 65 years old or older. According to official records, 22.6% of U.S. residents aged over 75 years made more than 10 visits to their doctor annually. On the other hand, 18.3% of residents aged between 65 – 74 years made the same number of visits to the doctor annually. This shows that as the population ages, the demand for healthcare services also increases. It also shows that the ACA has come at the right time as it will ensure the aging population and uninsured Americans get affordable and quality healthcare services.
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