Study: Medicaid Coverage ‘Substantially’ Improves Access to Care

July 7, 2011
44 Views

How does obtaining health coverage (insurance) compare to not getting it at all? According to a trial published via the National Bureau of Economic Research (Harvard/MIT), beneficiaries’ quality of life was enhanced and made a “big difference” in those patients’ self-health perceptions and their daily outlook — according to the study’s lead author. A quick glance at the results confirms that all encompassing statement, especially since the study employed the diagnostic “gold standard” in trial research by utilizing a randomized, controlled design.

How does obtaining health coverage (insurance) compare to not getting it at all? According to a trial published via the National Bureau of Economic Research (Harvard/MIT), beneficiaries’ quality of life was enhanced and made a “big difference” in those patients’ self-health perceptions and their daily outlook — according to the study’s lead author. A quick glance at the results confirms that all encompassing statement, especially since the study employed the diagnostic “gold standard” in trial research by utilizing a randomized, controlled design.

Taking a look at approximately the first year of coverage for Mediciad beneficiaries in the state of Orgeon, the study showed that healthcare expenditures for those who got coverage increased by almost $800/year. Those who received Medicaid were around 60 percent more likely to get mammograms. Medicaid recipients were over 50 percent more likely to have a regular primary-care doctor. They were also in better shape financially and less likely to have unpaid medical bills. Those who got Medicaid were also far more likely to report themselves in good or excellent health. ED admissions did not decrease; however, the increase in ED utilization by beneficiaries was not statistically significant.

It is clear from the results that coverage, in and of itself, has a positive effect on patients’ perceptions of health and wellness. What is not documented as much at this time is how this translates into outcomes with respect to various chronic problems such as obesity, diabetes, and risk factors (such as serum cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.) for heart disease. Also, it is unclear how these results translate into real numbers once reform increases Medicaid rolls substantially by 2014. Researchers plan on following the participants for at least another year. | LINK

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