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The potentially eligible Medicaid population under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act-financed Medicaid expansion is similarly healthy as - if not healthier than - the current Medicaid population, according to a new study from researchers out of the University of Michigan.
The exception to this general theme is that tobacco smoking and alcohol use patterns are higher among potential Medicaid enrollees than for current Medicaid beneficiaries. Specifically, the analysis of the most recently available nationally representative data on an estimated 13.8 million current and 13.6 million eligible Medicaid beneficiaries indicates eligible adults are expected to have better health status (35 percent "excellent" or "very good," 40 percent "good") than current beneficiaries (34 percent "excellent" or "very good," 32 percent "good"). Additionally, the proportion of potentially eligible beneficiaries who are obese and with depression is significantly lower than current beneficiaries (35 percent vs. 43 percent and 16 percent vs. 22 percent, respectively). They found no significant differences in the expected prevalence of diabetes or hypertension. Current tobacco smoking (49 percent vs. 38 percent) and moderate and heavy alcohol use (22 percent vs. 16 percent and 17 percent vs. 10 percent, respectively) are more common among the potentially eligible population than among current beneficiaries.
These findings suggest that federal Medicaid expenditures for newly covered beneficiaries may not be as high as projected by the Congressional Budget Office in the short term, thereby reducing spending anticipated with implementation of the ACA.
Given the higher prevalence of tobacco smoking and alcohol use, however, the authors point to the need for broad enrollment and engagement of this potentially eligible population to address their higher prevalence of modifiable risk factors for future chronic disease.
Potential Adult Medicaid Beneficiaries Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Compared With Current Adult Medicaid Beneficiaries
By Tammy Chang, MD, MPH, et al
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
September/October 2013 Annals of Family MedicineAmerican Academy of Family Physicians
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click 'references' tab above for source.
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American Academy of Family Physicians. "Potential Medicaid beneficiaries under new expansions are as healthy or healthier than current beneficiaries, expenditures may be lower than projected." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 12 Sep. 2013. Web.
6 Dec. 2013. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/265934>
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