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Health Affairs Article: Medicaid Expansion Under Health Reform May Increase Service Use and Improve Access For Low-Income Adults With Diabetes

This analysis finds that Medicaid’s role in financing diabetes care will grow when many low-income uninsured people with diabetes become eligible for Medicaid as the program expansions under the Affordable Care Act in 2014.

Adult Medicaid beneficiaries with diabetes had annual per person health expenditures more than three times higher than adult beneficiaries without the disease — $14,229 versus $4,568, according to the study. At the same time, many uninsured adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the doctor, fill prescriptions or use other health services than their counterparts on Medicaid, putting them at risk of not adhering to recommended guidelines for diabetes care. As they become eligible for Medicaid under health reform they are likely to enter the program with unmet health needs, and covering them is likely to result in both improved access and increased use of health care by this population, the study found.

The study is part of a collection of papers published in the January 2012 issue of Health Affairs that explore the challenges that the increasing prevalence of diabetes represents for public health and health care systems in the United States and internationally.

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