Medicaid patient hospital stays rise 30 percent, outpacing privately insured

The number of hospital stays for patients covered by Medicaid surged 30 percent between 1997 and 2008, compared to a 5 percent hike in the number for patients with private health insurance, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The number of uninsured patient admissions also outpaced privately insured patients with a 27 percent jump.

At 7.4 million, Medicaid-covered patient stays are roughly half the number of privately insured stays (14.1 million).

The data comes from a report on Medicaid hospitalizations that uses numbers from the 2008 database of hospital inpatient stays in all short-term, non-federal hospitals.

Among other findings:

  • In 2008, the average Medicaid patient stay cost less than a privately insured patient stay ($6,900 vs. $8.400).
  • Medicaid was the primary payer for nearly 1 in every 5 hospital stays in 2008.
  • Half of all Medicaid-hospital stays were for maternity-related or newborn infant care vs. one-third of all privately insured patients stays.

To learn more:
- here's the AHRQ press release
- here's the AHRQ statistical brief (.pdf)

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