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Uninsured Rate in Diabetes Belt Dropped With Medicaid Expansion

Feb 10, 2020
 

Decrease in uninsurance after Medicaid expansion greater in Diabetes Belt than in non-Belt counties

MONDAY, Feb. 10, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Medicaid expansion driven by the Affordable Care Act was associated with greater reductions in uninsurance rates in Diabetes Belt versus non-Belt counties, according to a study published online Jan. 27 in Diabetes Care.

Jennifer M. Lobo, Ph.D., from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and colleagues used data from the Small Area Health Insurance Estimates and Area Health Resources Files for 3,129 counties to examine trends in uninsured rates among populations with a household income ≤138 percent of the federal poverty level between 2012 and 2016. Data were included for adults aged <65 years.

The researchers found that 39 and 34 percent of the population in the Diabetes Belt and non-Belt counties were uninsured in 2012. In states where Medicaid was expanded, uninsured rates decreased rapidly to 13 percent in Diabetes Belt counties and 15 percent in non-Belt counties in 2016. Medicaid expansion helped reduce uninsured rates by 12.3 and 4.9 percent, respectively, in Diabetes Belt and non-Belt counties in analyses adjusted for county demographics and economic factors. In 2016, uninsured rates were 15 percent higher in the nonexpansion versus expansion states in both Diabetes Belt and non-Belt counties.

“We hope that our findings encourage policy makers to maintain and expand policies that increase health insurance coverage, particularly in areas like the Diabetes Belt, which have a greater prevalence of the disease,” Lobo said in a statement.

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