Growth in Medicaid Patient Hospital Admissions Outpace Those for Privately Insured Patients

AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: January 19, 2011

Hospital admissions of patients covered by Medicaid jumped by 30 percent between 1997 and 2008 compared to a 5 percent growth in those of patients with private health insurance, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Growth in uninsured patient admissions also outstripped privately insured admissions, rising by 27 percent.

The Federal agency found that the number of Medicaid-covered patient hospitalizations climbed from 5.6 million to 7.4 million compared to an increase of 13.4 million to 14.1 million for privately insured stays and 1.7 million to 2.1 million for the uninsured.

AHRQ found that:

* Over the period, a hospital's average cost for a Medicaid patient stay rose 11 percent, far less than the 34 percent cost increase for privately insured stays and the 26 percent increase for uninsured patients, adjusted for inflation.
* In 2008, the average Medicaid patient stay cost a hospital $6,900 and about the same for an uninsured patient, compared to $8,400 for a patient stay covered by private insurance, adjusted for inflation.
* Altogether, Medicaid patient stays cost hospitals about $51 billion compared to $117 billion for privately insured patient stays and $16 billion for uninsured stays in 2008, adjusted for inflation.
* Medicaid was the primary payer for more than 18 percent of the nearly 40 million hospital stays that year-almost 1 of every 5.
* Maternity-related and newborn infant care accounted for half of all Medicaid-hospital stays, compared with one-third of privately insured patient stays, and one-fifth of uninsured stays.
* About 6 percent of Medicaid stays were for mental health and substance abuse conditions, compared with 4 percent among the privately insured and 10 percent among the uninsured.

This AHRQ News and Numbers is based on data in Medicaid Hospitalizations, 2008. The report uses data from the 2008 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays in all short-term, non-Federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 95 percent of all discharges in the United States and include patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.

For other information, or to speak with an AHRQ data expert, please contact Bob Isquith at [email protected] or call (301) 427-1539.

Current as of January 2011

Internet Citation:

Growth in Medicaid Patient Hospital Admissions Outpace Those for Privately Insured Patients. AHRQ News and Numbers, January 19, 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.