New Medicaid enrollees may get better preventive care than current enrollees

A new study in the journal Health Affairs concludes that new Medicaid enrollees under the Affordable Care Act could have better access to preventive care than existing enrollees, Politico reported.

According to the study, only two states currently offer Medicaid enrollees the same level of preventive coverage as what is mandated under the ACA: Maine and Nevada. Although the ACA provides a 1 percent payment boost to those states whose preventive benefits meet the health reform law's requirements, it's unclear how many will take the money, according to Politico.

Services included in the ACA mandate for new enrollees include colonoscopies and diabetes screenings, Bloomberg News reported.

"Access to preventive care is especially important for Medicaid enrollees, who are more likely than those who are privately insured to be in poor health, have a chronic condition and have work limitations because of poor health," the study said.

Gail Wilensky, the former head of the Medicare program in the early 1990s and lead author of the study, told Bloomberg that "certainly a lot of poor people are going to be left out from these preventive services."

Various studies have suggested that lack of preventative care can lead to higher hospitalization rates-- and overall healthcare costs.

To learn more:
- read the Politico article
- check out the Bloomberg article
- here's the Health Affairs study abstract

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