Nav: Home

Gauging ACA's effect on primary care access

February 27, 2017

A new research letter published online by JAMA Internal Medicine assessed the Affordable Care Act's effect on primary care access because millions of uninsured adults have gotten health insurance since major coverage provisions were implemented.

The study by Daniel Polsky, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and coauthors used simulated patients to request new patient appointments from primary care practices in 10 states: Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas. A baseline study was conducted from 2012-2013 and updated in 2016 with an updated sample group of practices.

Simulated callers were grouped by insurance type (Medicaid or private insurance) and clinical scenario (hypertension or a check-up). The authors analyzed changes in appointment availability and the probability of short wait times (one week or less) and long wait times (more than 30 days).

The authors report that across the 10 states:
  • Medicaid callers saw appointment availability increase 5.4 percentage points and short waits decrease 6.7 percentage points between 2012 and 2016.
  • Private insurance callers saw no significant change in appointment availability but short waits decreased by 4.1 percentage points and long waits increased 3.3 percentage points.


There was no significant change in appointment availability for either insurance type in Georgia, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey or Texas. Medicaid callers found increased appointment availability in Illinois, Iowa and Pennsylvania, while private insurance callers found increased availability in Pennsylvania but decreased availability in Oregon and Arkansas.

The study has limitations such as including only new simulated patients calling in-network offices and that the results may not be generalizable because it includes only 10 states.

"The appointment availability results should ease concerns that the Affordable Care Act would exacerbate the primary care shortage. ... Primary care practices may be adapting to an influx of new patients with shorter visits and more rigorous management of no-shows," the article concludes.
-end-
(JAMA Intern Med. Published online February 27, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.9662; available pre-embargo at the For The Media website.)

Editor's Note: The article contains funding/support disclosures. Please see the articles for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

The JAMA Network Journals

Related Health Insurance Articles:

Financial hardship in cancer: The role of health insurance literacy
A new American Cancer Society study links health insurance literacy with medical financial hardship as well as non-medical financial sacrifices among adult cancer survivors in the United States.
Health insurance rule could help millions spend less for the care they need
Millions of Americans with chronic conditions could save money on the drugs and medical services they need the most, if their health insurance plans decide to take advantage of a new federal rule issued today.
Health insurance idea born at U-M could help millions of Americans spend less
New federal rule could reduce out-of-pocket costs for key drugs and services for people with chronic conditions in high-deductible health plans with health savings accounts.
Health insurance is not assurance of healthcare
Because of high out-of-pocket expenses, Ohioans who purchase subsidized health-exchange insurance often can't afford the care they need when they need it.
Study details poverty, lack of health insurance among female health care workers
A study carried out by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania finds that low wages and poor benefits leave many female health care workers living below the poverty line.
Is TV advertising for health insurance worth the expense? A new study says, 'maybe not'
A new study to be published in the INFORMS journal Marketing Science has revealed that health insurance has a small effect on brand enrollments, raising the question of whether health insurance television advertising is worth the expense.
Improving health insurance literacy aids Missourians' ACA enrollment
Community outreach and educational support for navigating health insurance options available in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace are crucial for helping people choose the best plan based on their individual needs.
Health insurance plans may be fueling opioid epidemic
Health care insurers including Medicare, Medicaid and major private insurers have not done enough to combat the opioid epidemic, suggests a study led by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Millions of suburban residents in US lack health insurance
Nearly 40 percent of the uninsured population in America lives in the suburbs and nearly one in seven suburban residents lacks health insurance.
Does health insurance status affect childhood cancer survival?
A new study examines whether insurance status may affect survival in children diagnosed with cancer.
More Health Insurance News and Health Insurance Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.