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Medicaid Patients in Region X Before and After Expansion

Monday, October 15, 2018  
Posted by: Thomas Johnson
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Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), health centers in Region X have experienced a dramatic increase in the volume of patients served by Medicaid. In 2012, Medicaid patients accounted for approximately 35% of all patients served by health centers throughout Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Compare that to last year, when more than half of all health center patients in these states were insured through Medicaid.

Health Center Patients by Insurance Status Chart

This increase is directly related to the expansion of Medicaid, a signature component of the ACA. So far three of the four Region X states have expanded coverage of their state run program. Oregon and Washington were early to accept federal funding for Medicaid expansion when it became available to states in 2014. In the years immediately prior, both states had each taken different approaches to increase coverage beyond what was mandated by the federal government. Alaska expanded coverage under their program in 2015, granting eligibility to 42,000 more people. Idaho has yet to expand Medicaid, however an initiative to expand coverage will be on the 2018 ballot.

Unsurprisingly, the rise in Medicaid coverage has also resulted in health centers seeing fewer and fewer patients without insurance. Today, health centers in Region X serve about 20% fewer uninsured than they did five years ago. While some of this decline has to do with more patients purchasing private coverage through their state's health insurance marketplace, the decline is largely attributable to patients becoming newly eligible for coverage under Medicaid.

Increasing availability of Medicaid coverage is thought by some researchers to be correlated with positive health outcomes. Patients with some form of insurance coverage are more likely to return to their clinic throughout a given year to receive continued care, and a study published in Health Affairs last year found that medicaid expansion was associated with improvements in some quality of care indicators among FQHCs.

Curious about how patient coverage has changed at your own clinic? Use the chart below to select a center and see how the breakdown in insurance coverage has changed from 2012 to 2017.

Patients by Type of Insurance Status, 2012 & 2017

Source: UDS, 2012-2017


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