July 05, 2016
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HHS: Medicaid expansion under Affordable Care Act improves health, financial stability

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HHS reported that 93% of new Medicaid enrollees are satisfied with their health care plans, and 92% are satisfied with their doctors. In addition, 78% of new enrollees state that they would be unable to access regular care if not for the Affordable Care Act.

“Today’s report is a clear reminder of the important role Medicaid expansion plays in improving access to quality, affordable care while addressing and improving overall health for millions of Americans,” HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said in a press release. “This Administration remains committed to working with all remaining states toward Medicaid expansion so they too can realize lower uninsured rates, healthier populations, and significant economic benefits.”

According to the report, Medicaid expansion also improved financial stability among new enrollees, and was successful in reducing third party collections by up to $1000 per person in participating states.

In addition, findings in the report indicate that new enrollees in Medicaid expansion states are more likely to have seen a provider in the past year. There was also a 41% increase in preventive service visits to community health centers, and access to prescription drug refills increased by 25.4% compared with states without Medicaid expansion.

In October 2013, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) began its first Open Enrollment Period. Since then, states with Medicaid expansion have seen a 35.5% increase in enrollment, whereas states without Medicaid expansion have only seen a 10.4% increase. Most recently, Louisiana was the 31st state to expand Medicaid under the ACA. Starting July 1, 2016, Louisiana residents can to access Medicaid services and enroll immediately.

In the 2017 Budget, President Obama proposed 3 years of full federal support and gradual phase down for states that have not yet undertaken Medicaid expansion.

All states that expand Medicaid coverage to new enrollees with family incomes of no more than 138% below the federal poverty level are eligible to claim increased federal matching funds. For these enrollees, health care costs are 100% paid for federal funds in 2016, 95% in 2017, and down to 90% in 2020 and beyond. – by Rafi Naseer