A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion covered 78 percent of five preventive health screenings last year

Medicaid covered more than 44,000 dental screenings as well as tens of thousands of four other preventive health screenings for non-elderly Kentucky adults during the third quarter of 2016, according to the latest snapshot from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky’s ongoing study of the Affordable Care Act.

The study also shows that more than 78 percent of these screenings were for Kentuckians who became eligible for Medicaid only after Kentucky expanded the program.

Medicaid also paid for 7,039 newborn births (22 percent for expansion patients) and 15,234 substance abuse treatment services (73 percent for expansion patients) for Kentucky adults between July and September 2016, the snapshot shows.

“The dramatic growth in preventive health screenings for low-income Kentucky adults is one of the most meaningful benefits of Medicaid expansion in Kentucky,” said Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky CEO Ben Chandler. “Getting recommended tests such as colorectal cancer screenings, mammograms or dental exams gives Kentuckians the chance to either prevent chronic disease or get earlier treatment.

“These screenings can quite literally save lives. They can also lead to significant savings for Medicaid and other programs that pay the cost of caring for Kentuckians who otherwise would put off medical visits and just get sicker.”

This snapshot follows a special report from the same study, released in December 2016, which found that treatment services for substance use increased by 740 percent for Medicaid expansion beneficiaries over the 30 months from the beginning of 2014 through mid-2016.

An additional 16,791 substance abuse treatment services were covered by Medicaid in the quarter following the 2.5-year period ending in June 2016 that was covered by that special report; 12,319 or 73 percent of the third-quarter services were for Medicaid expansion patients. In the second quarter of 2016, Medicaid expansion covered 11,130 substance use treatment services.

“Part of getting Kentucky healthier is sustaining the gains we’ve made in getting more people insured, and a healthier population is a population that is more productive, contributes more to the economy and has a better quality of life,” Chandler said. “We can’t afford to go backwards here. We’re too far behind in the rest of the nation in terms of our health statistics already.”

The Foundation’s ACA study has been tracking seven health services covered by both traditional and expanded Medicaid since the ACA went into effect in 2014.

A copy of third quarter snapshot from the Study of the Impact of the ACA Implementation in Kentucky is available here. Previous snapshots and other special reports from the study are available here.

From Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky Communications

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