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New Medicaid Beneficiaries Healthier Than Pre-Expansion Enrollees

Medicaid beneficiaries who became eligible for coverage as a result of expansion of the program under the Affordable Care Act tend to be healthier than beneficiaries who already had coverage prior to the law, according to a study that was published online Wednesday in the journal Health Affairs, Modern Healthcare reports.

Study Details

For the study, researchers deployed simulation methods and data from the Medical Expenditure Panel survey and compared nondisabled beneficiaries who had coverage prior to the ACA with two groups:

  • Adults who were eligible for but had not enrolled in Medicaid; and
  • Adults who became eligible for coverage after the ACA expanded the income eligibility range.

Study Findings

The study also found that residents with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level who would qualify for Medicaid under the ACA expansion but live in states who have opted not to expand their programs also are healthier.

The researchers said they hope their findings will help those nearly two dozen states reverse their decisions, noting that expanding Medicaid might not be as costly or burdensome on some health care providers as they believe (Dickson, Modern Healthcare, 3/26). 

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