The benefits of expanding Medicaid


Medicaid: to expand or not to expand? That is the question for the 24 states who opted out of the 2012 ruling under the Affordable Care Act. But for the 26 states, and the District of Columbia, who chose to extend the option to lower-income residents, the uninsured rate has dropped, while hospital admissions has increased, finds a new report from PwC's Health Research Institute.

Since October 2013, nearly 7.3 million Americans enrolled in Medicaid--this marks a 12.4 percent increase for average monthly enrollment prior to ACA implementation. Expansion states experienced a 18.5 percent enrollment increase, while states that chose to not expand still saw an enrollment increase of 4 percent, notes the report.

One of the nation's largest for-profit healthcare systems, Tenet Healthcare, experienced a 46 percent decline in uninsured and charity care admissions in the five expansion states in which it operates, finds the report. What's more, in the second quarter alone, Tenet saw a $78 million reduction in unpaid care.

Hospitals aren't the only ones who've had a positive experience, thanks to Medicaid.

Doctors practicing inexpansion states saw a higher percentage of Medicaid patients during the first three months of 2014, finds the report.

For states that chose to expand, this is good news for the industry as a whole.

Take Arkansas, for instance. The state pioneered its own option to expand, and the option has proven to be quite popular--70 percent of the 225,000 Arkansans who are eligible for the federal-state program have signed up for coverage, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

Arksansa is a bit of a poster child when it comes to both Medicaid expansion and decreasing the rate of those without coverage. The uninsured rate dropped more than 10 points from 22.5 percent in 2013 to 12.4 percent this year.

For more:
- here's the full report (.pdf)

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