In April 2014, the Healthy Michigan plan launched, and thousands of low-income Michigan residents enrolled.
A University of Michigan study has collected data from hospitals throughout the state, and since the Medicaid expansion the percentage of patients entering the hospital without insurance has dropped by 4 percent, while the percentage covered by Medicaid has increased by 6 percent.
The study also found that 94 percent of hospitals have treated fewer uninsured patients, and 88 percent have had more patients covered by Medicaid in the nine months after the 2014 expansion compared with the same periods of 2012 and 2013. Importantly, these changes were in conjunction with lower-than-average numbers of total hospitalizations (going against the worries expressed by some that expanded coverage would lead to increased demand for care.)
UM SPH Professor Dr. Matthew Davis, lead author of the study, says that “this is evidence that broader availability of insurance coverage for residents of Michigan is translating into coverage at the time when people are most in need of it – namely, when they are sick enough to be in the hospital.”
Now, a more extensive study is under way to further evaluate the effects of the Medicaid expansion including its impact on uncompensated care costs absorbed by Michigan hospitals, the financial health of individuals enrolled in the Healthy Michigan program, and the mix of patients seen in outpatient facilities versus emergency departments.