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Medicaid recipients use preventative care at rates comparable to those with commercial insurance, AHIP says

Adults are four times as likely, and children at least two-times more likely, to receive certain preventative care services.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

Preventative care and wellness have become the watchwords for controlling costs in healthcare as insurers promote these services to help prevent more complicated and expensive treatment.

It should come as no surprise then that people with health coverage through Medicaid or a commercial plan have better access to health services and receive more preventative care than those who are uninsured, according to a new report from America's Health Insurance Plans. 

Adults are more than four times as likely, and children two to three times more likely, to receive certain preventative care services than people with no health insurance, the report said.

The study, which focuses on Medicaid, reports that those with Medicaid coverage have rates of access to care and use of preventative services comparable to Americans who have commercial insurance.

Those with Medicaid or commercial insurance were far more likely to get a routine checkup, get care as soon as it was needed, make an appointment, get their blood pressure and cholesterol checked and get a flu vaccine. 

More than 75 million Americans are currently covered by Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  About 70 percent of Medicaid's total enrollment rely on private health plans for their Medicaid coverage, the report said. 

Medicaid, enacted in 1965, was expanded under President Obama and has become subject to work requirements under President Trump's administration.

Medicaid provides health coverage for qualifying low-income individuals, families, children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with disabilities. In 2014, the Affordable Care Act extended Medicaid coverage to increase eligibility for parents and end the exclusion of adults without dependent children.

Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia adopted Medicaid expansion, adding nearly 13 million people. Studies have shown that expansion in those states has reduced the number of uninsured patients and therefore the amount of uncompensated care for hospitals.

The AHIP study reports that over 43 percent of adults on Medicaid are in excellent or very good health, another 50 percent rate their health as good or fair and 6.3 percent say their health is poor.

Only 7.5 percent receive assistance with daily living while 92.5 percent do not, according to data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey of Medicaid beneficiaries.

"This new evidence reinforces what insurance providers see every day – Medicaid works for patients and taxpayers," said Rhys Jones, AHIP vice president of Medicaid Policy and Advocacy. "Medicaid is an important part of America's safety net and optimizes the use of every dollar invested into the program to ensure those who need help the most get the care they need."

That said, in an April 9 report in the National Review, Nicholas Horton, the research director for the Foundation for Government Accountability, said Medicaid expansion is helping able-bodied adults instead of the truly needy.

Horton referred to his March 6 report, in which he said that at least 21,904 individuals have died on Medicaid waiting lists in states since the expansion. Those on the waiting lists are individuals with intellectual disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and the elderly who are waiting for  home and community-based care beyond what states are required to cover through Medicaid, he said. 

"Expansion states have chosen to spend tens of billions of dollars on non-disabled adults instead of helping those on the waiting list," said Horton, who supports work requirements for able-bodied adults.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
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