New Commonwealth Fund research out today demonstrates how states that expanded Medicaid eligibility have not only improved low-income residents’ access to health care but have also reduced what families must spend out of pocket on premiums, cost-sharing, and other related expenses.
Prior studies had shown that low-income residents of states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are less likely to experience financial barriers to health care access. But the impact on people’s out-of-pocket spending had not been measured until now.
The new analysis, conducted by a team headed by Sherry Glied, dean of New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, found that the average low-income family in a Medicaid expansion state saves about $382 annually relative to a comparable family in a nonexpansion state. Moreover, low-income families in states that expanded Medicaid are less likely than their counterparts to have any out-of-pocket health care costs at all.
The authors say there was no statistically significant difference in outcomes for states that expanded through conventional Medicaid or through a waiver program.