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Medicaid Expansion And Marketplace Eligibility Both Increased Coverage With Trade-Offs In Access Affordability

Author: Thomas M. Selden, Brandy J. Lipton, Sandra L. Decker
$15.00

Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions implemented in 2014 provide a valuable case study regarding the merits of using public versus subsidized private insurance to help low-income people obtain and finance health care. In particular, nonelderly adults with incomes of 100–138 percent of the federal poverty level gained Medicaid eligibility if they lived in states that implemented the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, whereas those in nonexpansion states became eligible for subsidized Marketplace coverage. Using data for 2008–15 from the National Health Interview Survey, we found that as of 2015, adults with family incomes in this range had experienced large declines in uninsurance rates in both expansion and nonexpansion states (the adjusted declines were 22 percentage points and 18 percentage points, respectively). Adults in expansion and nonexpansion states also experienced similar increases in having a usual source of care and primary care visits, and similar reductions in delayed receipt of medical care due to cost. There were, however, important differences: Adults in expansion states experienced larger reductions in out-of-pocket spending but also faced greater difficulty accessing physician care relative to adults in nonexpansion states.

Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions implemented in 2014 provide a valuable case study regarding the merits of using public versus subsidized private insurance to help low-income people obtain and finance health care. In particular, nonelderly adults with incomes of 100–138 percent of the federal poverty level gained Medicaid eligibility if they lived in states that implemented the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, whereas those in nonexpansion states became eligible for subsidized Marketplace coverage. Using data for 2008–15 from the National Health Interview Survey, we found that as of 2015, adults with family incomes in this range had experienced large declines in uninsurance rates in both expansion and nonexpansion states (the adjusted declines were 22 percentage points and 18 percentage points, respectively). Adults in expansion and nonexpansion states also experienced similar increases in having a usual source of care and primary care visits, and similar reductions in delayed receipt of medical care due to cost. There were, however, important differences: Adults in expansion states experienced larger reductions in out-of-pocket spending but also faced greater difficulty accessing physician care relative to adults in nonexpansion states.

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