Providing low-income uninsured individuals
with health coverage similar to that offered in the Affordable Care Act results in cost savings, according to a new UC Irvine study.
The study, published in the February issue of Health Affairs, found that over three years, health costs fell by nearly 50 percent per participant. Health costs were $8,899 on average per participant in the first year of coverage, compared with $4,569 in the third year.
Researchers found participants made fewer trips to the emergency room
once they were covered, and instead went for more primary care visits, accounting for the drop in costs.
“Our research shows that, over time, costs can be reduced through increased use of primary care
and reductions in emergency-department visits and hospital admissions, but it may take several years of coverage for substantive savings to occur,” said study co-author David Neumark.