UC Irvine: Health care costs decrease over time when low-income uninsured are provided coverage


Single payer is the way to go, but sadly, that didn't happen. What did happen is the Affordable Care Act, and although it is far from perfect and benefits Big Insurance, it certainly has its upside. For example, eliminating the pre-existing condition obstacle is a big one, as is allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health care plan until age 26.

But wait! There's more!

Via UC Irvine Today:

Enrollment of uninsured patients in a program with benefits comparable to those offered under the Affordable Care Act of 2010 resulted in significant healthcare cost savings, a new study finds. Published in the February issue of Health Affairs, the research sheds light on the potential outcomes of newly enacted healthcare reforms.

In a case study involving low-income people enrolled in a community-based health insurance program, we found that use of primary care increased but use of emergency services fell, and – over time – total healthcare costs declined,” said study co-author David Neumark, UC Irvine Chancellor’s Professor of economics and director of UCI’s Center for Economics & Public Policy study. [...]

The study found that primary-care visits for patients who enrolled continuously over three years rose from 1.06 in year one to 1.60 annually, while emergency-room visits fell from 1.02 in year one to 0.74 by year three. Costs per visit for both inpatients and outpatients also decreased, as did the length of inpatient stays. On average, total healthcare costs per enrollee per year for this subset were cut nearly in half – from $8,899 in year one to $4,569 in year three. Overall costs per enrollee per year for all participants with at least one year of enrollment declined from $7,604 to $4,726.

Too much for you, GOP? That's okay, most things that benefit low-income Americans are.

H/t: @Blondetwit