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Changes in Health Care Access and Utilization for Low-SES Adults Aged 51-64 Years After Medicaid Expansion.
Tipirneni R, Levy HG, Langa KM, McCammon RJ, Zivin K, Luster J, Karmakar M, Ayanian JZ. Changes in Health Care Access and Utilization for Low-SES Adults Aged 51-64 Years After Medicaid Expansion. The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences. 2021 Jun 14; 76(6):1218-1230.
Whether the Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance expansions improved access to care and health for adults aged 51-64 years has not been closely examined. This study examined longitudinal changes in access, utilization, and health for low-socioeconomic status adults aged 51-64 years before and after the ACA Medicaid expansion.
Longitudinal difference-in-differences (DID) study before (2010-2014) and after (2016) Medicaid expansion, including N = 2,088 noninstitutionalized low-education adults aged 51-64 years (n = 633 in Medicaid expansion states, n = 1,455 in nonexpansion states) from the nationally representative biennial Health and Retirement Study. Outcomes included coverage (any, Medicaid, and private), access (usual source of care, difficulty finding a physician, foregone care, cost-related medication nonadherence, and out-of-pocket costs), utilization (outpatient visit and hospitalization), and health status.
Low-education adults aged 51-64 years had increased rates of Medicaid coverage (+10.6 percentage points [pp] in expansion states, +3.2 pp in nonexpansion states, DID +7.4 pp, p = .001) and increased likelihood of hospitalizations (+9.2 pp in expansion states, -1.1 pp in nonexpansion states, DID +10.4 pp, p = .003) in Medicaid expansion compared with nonexpansion states after 2014. Those in expansion states also had a smaller increase in limitations in paid work/housework over time, compared to those in nonexpansion states (+3.6 pp in expansion states, +11.0 pp in nonexpansion states, DID -7.5 pp, p = .006). There were no other significant differences in access, utilization, or health trends between expansion and nonexpansion states.
After Medicaid expansion, low-education status adults aged 51-64 years were more likely to be hospitalized, suggesting poor baseline access to chronic disease management and pent-up demand for hospital services.