ACA Enrollees More Likely To Use Medicines For Hepatitis and HIV

Julie M. Donohue, Ph.D. Associate professor and Vice Chair for Research Graduate School of Public Health Department of Health Policy and Management University of PittsburghMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Julie M. Donohue, Ph.D.

Associate professor and Vice Chair for Research
Graduate School of Public Health Department of Health Policy and Management
University of Pittsburgh

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Donohue: We looked at data on medication use from January through September 2014 on 1 million Affordable Care Act-established marketplace insurance plan enrollees. Our analysis found that among people who enrolled in individual marketplaces, those who enrolled earlier were older and used more medication than later enrollees. Marketplace enrollees, as a whole, had lower average drug spending per person and were less likely to use most medication classes than patients enrolled in employer-sponsored health insurance. However, marketplace enrollees were much more likely to use medicines for hepatitis C and for HIV, which is particularly important given the general concerns about the rising costs of these medications for consumers.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Donohue: The results of our study are perhaps more significant in terms of guiding policy decisions. The insights gained by our analysis have implications for the marketing of ACA insurance plans, benefit design and out-of-pocket costs, as well as public health ramifications, such as expanding treatment for infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis C. Our findings also show that the ACA marketplaces staved off early concerns about skyrocketing insurance premiums by successfully attracting younger, healthier enrollees to offset higher costs from older, less healthy people.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Donohue: From a public health perspective, our analysis indicates that the ACA is successfully helping more vulnerable populations with lower incomes gain access to medications needed to treat chronic and acute conditions. Given the unprecedented expansion of insurance coverage with the ACA, close monitoring of its impact must continue.

Citation:

Early Marketplace Enrollees Were Older And Used More Medication Than Later Enrollees; Marketplaces Pooled Risk

Julie M. Donohue, Eros Papademetriou, Rochelle R. Henderson, Sharon Glave Frazee, Christine Eibner, Andrew W. Mulcahy, Ateev Mehrotra, Shivum Bharill, Can Cui, Bradley D. Stein, and Walid F. Gellad

Health Aff 10.1377/hlthaff.2015.0016; published ahead of print May 27, 2015, doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2015.0016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Julie M. Donohue, Ph.D., Associate professor and Vice Chair for Research, Graduate School of Public Health Department of Health Policy and Management, & University of Pittsburgh (2015). ACA Enrollees More Likely To Use Medicines For Hepatitis and HIV 

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