Home  |  Top News  |  Most Popular  |  Video  |  Multimedia  |  News Feeds  |  Feedback
  Medicine  |  Nature & Earth  |  Biology  |  Technology & Engineering  |  Space & Planetary  |  Psychology  |  Physics & Chemistry  |  Economics  |  Archaeology
Top > Medicine, Health Care > Assessing the Cost of the… >
Assessing the Cost of the Affordable Care Act And Expanding Medicaid

Published: November 2, 2012.
By Penn State
http://live.psu.edu

HERSHEY, Pa. -- Extending Medicaid coverage to currently uninsured adults is likely to increase the cost of the program, according to health policy researchers, because those patients are prone to have more expensive health problems than nondisabled adults currently enrolled in Medicaid.

The Affordable Care Act gives individual states the option to expand their Medicaid programs to cover many who are uninsured. A study by Penn State and Wake Forest University researchers is among the first to quantify the potential financial impact of this option.

"We sought to compare the health needs and health-services utilization of the uninsured who are served by safety-net providers with those of nondisabled adult Medicaid recipients living in the same county, in order to help project the potential financial impact of enrolling uninsured people in Medicaid," the researchers stated in a recent issue of the North Carolina Medical Journal.

Wenke Hwang, associate professor of public health sciences at Penn State College of Medicine, and colleagues studied these two groups in Buncombe County, North Carolina, in 2008. Buncombe County's clinics and safety-net providers maintain comprehensive records about patients and the treatments they receive, offering a unique opportunity to assess the general health status and needs of the uninsured population.

Previous research has determined that uninsured patients were less likely to have been admitted to a hospital or to have visited an emergency room or outpatient clinic than Medicaid recipients. However, the uninsured tended to have ailments that cost more to treat than those with Medicaid.

"We found that if the low-income uninsured non-elderly adults had been covered by Medicaid, based on their illness burden profiles, they would have incurred 13 percent more costs on average than the non-elderly Medicaid recipients," said Hwang. "This means that the non-elderly uninsured population has, on average, a slightly higher disease burden than the non-elderly Medicaid recipients."

The study looked at nearly 11,000 people over the course of the year. Medicaid recipients accounted for 7,191 of them and uninsured county-clinic patients numbered 3,603.

"Health reform laws will provide insurance coverage to many currently uninsured populations," said Hwang. "However, it may be more cost effective to simply strengthen the financial viability of the current safety-net providers without expansion of state Medicaid."

Kimberly Liao, research associate, public health sciences, Penn State College of Medicine; Leah Griffin, statistician, biostatistical sciences, and Mark Hall, professor of social science and health policy, both at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, also contributed to this research.


Show Reference »


Translate this page: Chinese French German Italian Japanese Korean Portuguese Russian Spanish


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the ScienceNewsline.

Most Popular - Medicine »
MARIJUANA »
Casual Marijuana Use Linked to Brain Abnormalities in Students
CHICAGO --- Young adults who used marijuana only recreationally showed significant abnormalities in two key brain regions that are important in emotion and motivation, scientists report. The study was …
TUMORS »
The Immune System's Redesigned Role in Fighting Cancerous Tumors
LOS ANGELES (March 11, 2014) – Researchers in the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute eradicated solid tumors in laboratory mice using a novel combination of two targeted agents. …
MTBI »
MRI Pinpoints Region of Brain Injury in Some Concussion Patients
OAK BROOK, Ill. – Researchers using information provided by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique have identified regional white matter damage in the brains of people who experience chronic …
MéNIèRE »
Research Gives New Insights into Rare Disease of the Inner Ear
A new study has shed light on the factors likely to lead to the development of a rare condition affecting the inner ear. In the most comprehensive study …
MUSCULAR »
Regenerating Muscle in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: Age Matters
ScienceNewsline  |  About  |  Privacy Policy  |  Feedback  |  Mobile  |  Japanese
The selection and placement of stories are determined automatically by a computer program. All contents are copyright of their owners except U.S. Government works. U.S. Government works are assumed to be in the public domain unless otherwise noted. Everything else copyright ScienceNewsline.