3.4% more adults connected to a healthcare system since ACA

Access to care has improved significantly for all nonelderly adults across income and Medicaid expansion groups between 2013 and 2015, according to a recent study published in Health Affairs.

As millions gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the study aimed to determine how much this coverage actually impacted access and affordability of care. To determine this, researchers look at the Health Reform Monitoring Survey, an online quarterly survey that provides real-time estimates on ACA implementation and outcomes.

Here are seven main findings.

  • Between September 2013, prior to the first open enrollment period, and March 2015, after the end of the second open enrollment period, the share of nonelderly adults with a connection to a healthcare system increased by 3.4 percentage points.
  • Among low-income adults who gained coverage under Medicaid expansion, there was an increase of 5.2 percentage points of people connected to a healthcare system.
  • Moderate income adults showed a 4.2 percentage point increase in having a connection to a usual source of care.
  • The share of adults who had had a routine check-up in the past year also grew 3.4 percentage points.
  • Nonetheless, at the end of the study, in March 2015, 25.7 percent of nonelderly adults still did not have a primary source of care.
  • This 25.7 percent of adults were more likely to be young, male, Hispanic and have low income, compared with those who did have a usual source of care.
  • Notably, dental care and prescription drugs remained out of reach for many, despite gains in coverage for preventive services. Of those who reported cost as a barrier to care, 70.1 percent said dental care and 47.5 percent said prescription drugs were not affordable.


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