Medicaid enrollees may cost more to treat under reform

Americans who will enter the Medicaid program as a result of healthcare reform will be sicker than the typical program enrollee, translating to at least higher initial costs, reports The Hill's Healthwatch.

The conclusion comes from a study commissioned by Washington, D.C.-based Avalere Health, which found that two-thirds of current Medicaid enrollees report being in "excellent" or "very good" health. Only about half of those expected to be enrolled in Medicaid starting in 2014 are in "very good" health or better. The gap is understandable because most uninsured do not have ready access to preventive care.

"[T]his is a more expensive population to treat, at least initially," said Avalere CEO Dan Mendelson.

Mendelson noted that his company's analysis could not conclude whether this health disparity would drive up the costs of implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act beyond the initial Congressional Budget Office estimates.

For more information:
- read The Hill's HealthWatch article