Health Coverage Improved With the Affordable Care Act

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Hospital reimbursements up, births among young women more often privately covered.
Hospital reimbursements up, births among young women more often privately covered.

(HealthDay News) -- The Affordable Care Act is working as intended, extending health care coverage and ensuring that hospital care is financially compensated, according to 2 research letters published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

One letter reports that uncompensated emergency department care has decreased 15.5% more, on average, in states that chose to expand Medicaid, compared with states that rejected the federally funded Medicaid expansion. "It seems like Medicaid expansion is having a really big impact on uncompensated care," lead author Katherine Hempstead, PhD, director of health insurance research for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, told HealthDay.

The authors of the second letter found that childbirth among young women (aged 19 to 26) is covered more often now by private insurance than Medicaid -- an indication that many are remaining on their parents' insurance as provided for under the Affordable Care Act.

"The young adult provision appears to be associated with a significant decrease in public coverage and a significant increase in private coverage, which is contrary to what many people might think about the Affordable Care Act," senior author Aaron Carroll, M.D., associate director of Children's Health Services Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, told HealthDay.


  1. State Medicaid Expansion and Changes in Hospital Volume According to Payer. N Engl J Med 2016; 374:196-198. doi:10.1056/NEJMc1507366.
  2. Dependent Coverage under the ACA and Medicaid Coverage for Childbirth. N Engl J Med 2016; 374:194-196. doi:10.1056/NEJMc1507847.
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