23 Sep Almost 2 Million Diabetics Gained Health Insurance Under Affordable Care Act
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Rebecca Myerson, PhD
Assistant Professor, Population Health Sciences
School of Medicine and Public Health
University of Wisconsin, Madison
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Many people with diabetes are undiagnosed, and those who are diagnosed often are untreated and uncontrolled. Increasing access to health insurance for patients with health care needs was a goal of the Affordable Care Act.
We analyzed information from 11 years of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which gathers data that are nationally representative of the civilian population. The biennial survey includes biomarkers, including HbA1c, a measure of blood-sugar control. Using the NHANES data allowed the researchers to identify those with undiagnosed diabetes.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: We found that in 2009 and 2010, 17 percent of adults who were under the age of 65 and had diabetes were uninsured. After the ACA took effect, that percentage declined by 12 percentage points and by 27 percentage points among those with low income (defined in the study as below 138 percent of the federal poverty level).
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Our estimates suggest that 1.9 million people with diabetes gained coverage under the ACA, and 1.2 million of the people with diabetes who gained coverage had low income.
Why is this important? “Insurance coverage can change the health trajectory of people with diabetes by providing access to diagnosis and treatment,” said Myerson. “But just as importantly, increasing coverage rates can also enhance health equity, because people with undiagnosed or untreated diabetes disproportionately belong to underserved groups.”
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Future research should investigate whether these improvements in coverage, particularly for people who were previously unaware of their diabetes, resulted in improved health, including increased control of diabetes.
The Affordable Care Act and Health Insurance Coverage Among People With Diagnosed and Undiagnosed Diabetes: Data From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
Rebecca Myerson, John Romley, Tommy Chiou, Anne L. Peters and Dana Goldman
Diabetes Care September 23, 2019; dc190081. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc19-0081
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