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Uninsured Emergency Room Visits Decrease in California

Posted on February 11, 2012 by admin

By improving the American public’s access to health insurance, the Affordable Care Act set out to dramatically reduce the percentage of uninsured individuals across the country. After one open-enrollment period, more than seven million people purchased health coverage from the Health Insurance Marketplace. The amount of uninsured Americans decreased notably from 17.7 to 12.4 percent. Obamacare was working.

Now, with each week that goes by, health industry experts look for its ripples. The latest discovery involves California emergency rooms: not nearly as many uninsured patients are visiting emergency rooms.

In the second quarter of 2013, 23,686 uninsured patients visited emergency rooms across California. That number decreased by 22.3 percent in the same quarter of 2014, when only 18,395 patients without coverage went to the ER. Given that the first open-enrollment period took place between these two quarters, health insurance experts are directly linking the decrease in uninsured ER visits to the Affordable Care Act and the improved access to healthcare it grants.

This is no small victory for the healthcare law and the Obama administration that continues to support it. A typical visit to the emergency room can cost thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of the issue and the hospital you go to. Furthermore, the accidents that bring about the need to visit an ER can happen at any moment, without warning. But those who can now afford private health plans are not the only ones being represented in the study. With the expansion of the Medicaid program in California, more low-income individuals are also enjoying access to coverage when they visit emergency rooms.

In one year, the number of ER patients with California Medicaid (Medi-Cal) shot up 25 percent from 790,000 to 1,050,000. Medicaid patients are saving a substantial deal of money on emergency room visits just like those California residents with private health plans. The only difference is the provider of the health insurance.