New Medicaid Enrollees Under ACA May Be Healthier

(HealthDay News) – Adults potentially eligible for Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) are expected to have equal or better health status than current beneficiaries, according to research published in the September/October issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Tammy Chang, MD, MPH, and Matthew Davis, MD, both from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, utilized data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2007–2010) to identify adult U.S. citizens potentially eligible for Medicaid (13.6 million) under provisions of the ACA and compare them with current adult Medicaid beneficiaries (13.8 million) with respect to demographic characteristics and health measures.

The researchers found that potentially eligible individuals are more likely to be male (49.2% potentially eligible vs. 33.3% current beneficiaries) and more likely to be white and less likely to be black (58.8% white and 20% black vs. 49.9% white and 25.2% black). Potentially eligible adults will likely have significantly better health status than current beneficiaries. Among potentially eligible individuals, the proportions of obese individuals (34.5% vs. 42.9%) and those with depression (15.5% vs. 22.3%) are significantly lower compared to that seen in current beneficiaries. There are no significant differences expected with prevalence of diabetes or hypertension.

“Federal Medicaid expenditures for newly covered beneficiaries therefore may not be as high as anticipated in the short term,” the authors write.

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