Much like a cell phone, an insurance plan is only as good as its network. Protections enacted at the federal and state levels are an important step toward strengthening private insurance provider networks. The Affordable Care Act created the first-ever provider network protections for private insurance consumers. These protections require health insurance marketplace plans to have adequate networks to meet their enrollees’ medical needs in a timely manner.
A new study released by the UCLA Center for Health Care Research pokes holes in an argument that opponents of Medicaid expansion often use to justify their opposition: that giving uninsured people Medicaid coverage will lead to long-term runaway health care costs. Researchers at UCLA examined data from California’s early Medicaid expansion and found that that wasn’t the case.
New data reveal that because of Medicaid expansion, Kentucky residents are getting more life-saving screenings and other essential preventive health services, which leads to early diagnoses and higher success rates of treatment. Kentucky has grappled with some of the lowest health rankings in the country (for instance, in 2013, it ranked 50 in cancer deaths and 45 overall). But when the state accepted federal dollars to expand Medicaid to more of its residents, Kentucky began to work toward better health outcomes. In the months since Medicaid expansion, Kentucky has seen significant progress.
Whether they need guidance with improving outreach, helping consumers understand their health coverage, or using the media to spread the word, resources are available to help navigators and assisters be successful.
For millions of uninsured Americans, the midterm gubernatorial races in more than a dozen states will determine whether they can get access to affordable health care through Medicaid expansion.
Of the 23 states that have not expanded Medicaid, 15 have gubernatorial races in November—setting the stage for potential Medicaid expansion in 2015.