Law Will Shift Demographics For Medicaid Toward Healthier Group, Study Finds

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The health law is expected to change the face of Medicaid literally.

The health law is expected to change the face of Medicaid — literally.


As part of the federal overhaul, some states have opted to expand in January this state-federal health insurance program for low income people to include Americans who earn as much as 138 percent of the federal poverty line (just under $16,000 for an individual in 2013). As a result, the new enrollees will include more white, male and healthy individuals than those eligible before the Affordable Care Act expansion, according to a study in the Annals of Family Medicine.

Using statistics from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the authors found that the group of newly eligible individuals is:

  • About 36 years old on average, compared with about 39 years old for the current enrollees.
  • Approximately 59 percent non-Hispanic white, compared with about 50 percent in the existing group.
  • Equally split between males and females, compared with about 67 percent female and 33 percent male in the current Medicaid population.
  • More likely to smoke and drink, but also more likely to have lower rates of obesity and diabetes.

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Source: Kaiser Health News