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Medicaid Expansion, Payer Oversight Seen as Vital to Healthcare Reform

Christopher Cheney, for HealthLeaders Media, March 25, 2014

The key findings of the report include:

  • Thirty-two million people under age 65 were underinsured in the United States in 2012.
  • The rate of the underinsured in states ranged from a low of 8 percent in New Hampshire to a high of 17 percent in Idaho and Utah.
  • Low- and middle-income people were at highest risk of being underinsured, accounting for 30 million of those who had health coverage but lacked adequate protection against high health costs. Low-income people face the highest risk by far, with 26 million listed as underinsured.
  • About 47 million people were uninsured in 2012, a decline of nearly 2 million from 2010. The improvement is almost entirely due to the provision of the PPACA that allows children 25 and under to remain on their parents' health plans.
  • About 2 million people have joined the ranks of the underinsured since 2012, mainly because of the proliferation of high-deductibles and other cost-sharing burdens for consumers.

Oversight of Private Insurance
The Commonwealth Fund's Schoen says payers and providers have essential roles to play if Medicaid expansion is going to be successful. "When we're offering insurance," she said of the emerging post-PPACA markets, "it's the private insurers we're relying on."

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