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Study Shows Value of Medicaid in Providing Access to Care and Preventive Services

April 11, 2018

A study conducted by the America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) found that adults and children in a Medicaid health plan had significantly better access to care and preventive services than did people with no health coverage.

Key findings included:

  • Adults with Medicaid coverage were almost five times more likely to have a usual source of care than people with no health coverage; for children with Medicaid, it was four times more likely
  • Adults with Medicaid coverage were more than four times more likely to receive certain preventive health services than people with no insurance; for children with Medicaid, it was two-to-three times more likely
  • Adults and children with Medicaid coverage had access to care and preventive services at levels similar to adults and children with commercial health coverage (through employment or as individuals)

The AHIP study was based on an analysis of the 2013–2015 Medical Expenditures Panel Survey, which is a national survey of households by the federal Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research. This survey has been administered for more than 20 years and provides data about the cost and use of health insurance and health care.

The study also looked at the demographic variables in the Medicaid population and found that:

  • Individuals with Medicaid coverage tended to be more racially and ethnically diverse than those with commercial health insurance
  • Women comprised almost two-thirds of adults with Medicaid, far more than the commercial or uninsured groups
  • A greater proportion of children enrolled in Medicaid live in southern states; more adult Medicaid beneficiaries live in the northeast
  • More than one-third of adults with Medicaid did not complete high school

Further, the study found that individuals with Medicaid coverage tend to face greater health challenges than do the commercially insured and the uninsured. Adults with Medicaid reported having lower overall physical and mental health status as compared to the commercially insured or uninsured. This included eight percent of adults with Medicaid requiring assistance with activities of daily living, as compared to only about one percent of individuals with commercial health insurance or with no insurance.

This comprehensive analysis reflects the value of Medicaid—particularly given Medicaid expansion—in assuring access to needed health care and preventive services for lower income adults and children.

HAP continues to advocate for policies that protect the gains in coverage achieved through the Affordable Care Act.

For more information, contact Paula Bussard, HAP’s chief strategy officer.

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