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ACA puede conducir a menos sin seguro

por Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | June 12, 2014
Elizabeth Lukanen
The number of uninsured Minnesotans dropped by 40.6 percent from September 30, 2013 to May 1, 2014, according to a recent report conducted by the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) at the University of Minnesota. It's the first report to investigate the Affordable Care Act's impact at the state level.

More specifically, the number fell from 445,000 to 264,500 uninsured. As a result, the share of uninsured dropped from 8.2 percent to 4.9 percent by the end of the ACA's open enrollment period.

"We think that this early look is a pretty good indication that the ACA has made progress towards the main goal of improving coverage," Elizabeth Lukanen, senior research fellow at SHADAC, told DOTmed News. "I don't know that we were surprised that a great number of people got coverage but I think we were surprised by how quickly it happened given that this look was preliminary."

The findings are consistent with national reports on the early impact of the ACA, as well as Massachusetts' experience when it implemented health care reform in 2007. "It makes me feel pretty comfortable that our findings are within the ballpark of both historical experience and national evidence," said Lukanen.

SHADAC is the pioneer of this type of study because they are funded through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation State Health Reform Assistance Network to provide technical assistance to 11 states as they implement health reform.

Additionally, MNsure — Minnesota's health insurance marketplace — expressed interest in working with SHADAC, and they also have a collaborate relationship with different payors and segments of the health care industry. Private payors, the Department of Human Services for Medicaid and MNsure were willing to give them the data they needed.

"It was really a core effort by a key group of people who were working together to find the answer," said Lukanen.

The report also found that the enrollment in state insurance programs — Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare — went up by 155,000 and the enrollment in private health insurance increased by around 30,000. Most of the enrollment growth was in the state insurance programs, however, with an estimated two-thirds of uninsured Minnesotans eligible for public coverage.

But questions still remain and SHADAC is looking to answer them. They're working with the Minnesota Department of Health on a re-contact survey that will contact people who indicated in fall 2013 that were either uninsured or in the individual market.

They're going to be asked whether they got coverage and if so, what kind of coverage, if they got it through the insurance exchange and what their experience was like. Then they will be asked questions about access to care including whether they were able to get a doctor appointment and if they had any barriers to care.

"I think that's going to compliment this analysis really nicely," said Lukanen. "Obviously this is an aggregate picture of coverage shifts but everyone is clamming for individual level narratives on people's experiences with these new coverage options."

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