Impact of the Affordable Care Act in Missouri
Hundreds of thousands of Missourians have gained coverage, and millions more have had their coverage substantially improved
Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released an extensive compilation of state-level data illustrating the substantial improvements in health care for all Americans over the last six years. The data show that the uninsured rate in Missouri has fallen by 26 percent since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted in 2010, translating into 203,000 Missourians gaining coverage. And, in addition to residents who would otherwise be uninsured, millions more Missourians with employer, Medicaid, individual market, or Medicare coverage have also benefited from new protections as a result of the law.
“As our nation debates changes to the health care system, it’s important to take stock of where we are today compared to where we were before the Affordable Care Act,” said Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “Whether Missourians get coverage through an employer, Medicaid, the individual market, or Medicare, they have better health coverage and care today as a result of the ACA. Millions of Americans with all types of coverage have a stake in the future of health reform. We need to build on our progress and continue to improve health care access, quality, and affordability, not move our system backward.”
Highlights of today’s data release include:
Employer Coverage: 3,389,000 people in Missouri are covered through employer-sponsored health plans. Since the ACA was enacted in 2010, this group has seen:
- An end to annual and lifetime limits: Before the ACA, 2,148,000 Missourians with employer or individual market coverage had a lifetime limit on their insurance policy. That meant their coverage could end exactly when they needed it most. The ACA prohibits annual and lifetime limits on policies, so all Missourians with employer plans now have coverage that’s there when they need it.
- Young adults covered until age 26: An estimated 44,000 young adults in Missouri have benefited from the ACA provision that allows kids to stay on their parents’ health insurance up to age 26.
- Free preventive care: Under the ACA, health plans must cover preventive services — like flu shots, cancer screenings, contraception, and mammograms – at no extra cost to consumers. This provision benefits 2,778,803 people in Missouri, most of whom have employer coverage.
- Slower premium growth: The average premium for Missouri families with employer coverage grew 5.7 percent per year from 2010-2015, compared with 6.6 percent over the previous decade. Assuming Missouri premiums grew in line with the national average in 2016, family premiums in Missouri are $1,300 lower today than if growth had matched the pre-ACA decade.
- Better value through the 80/20 rule: Because of the ACA, health insurance companies must spend at least 80 cents of each premium dollar on health care or care improvements, rather than administrative costs like salaries or marketing, or else give consumers a refund. Missourians with employer coverage have received $56,224,932 in insurance refunds since 2012.
Medicaid: 967,284 people in Missouri are covered by Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, including 624,612 children and 133,762 seniors and people with disabilities covered by both Medicaid and Medicare. The ACA expanded Medicaid eligibility and strengthened the program for those already eligible.
- 191,000 Missourians could gain coverage: An estimated 191,000 Missourians could have health insurance today if Missouri expanded Medicaid under the ACA. Coverage improves access to care, financial security, and health; expansion would result in an estimated 22,000 more Missourians getting all needed care, 27,200 fewer Missourians struggling to pay medical bills, and 230 avoided deaths each year.
- Up to 91,000 Missourians with a mental illness or substance use disorder could get help: 91,000 Missourians, or an estimated 34 percent of those who could gain Medicaid coverage through expansion, have a mental illness or substance use disorder.
- Missouri could be saving millions in uncompensated care costs: Instead of spending $200 million on uncompensated care, which increases costs for everyone, Missouri could be getting $1 billion in federal support to provide low-income adults with much needed care.
- Children, people with disabilities, and seniors can more easily access Medicaid coverage: The ACA streamlined Medicaid eligibility processes, eliminating hurdles so that vulnerable Missourians could more easily access and maintain coverage.
- Missouri is improving health care for individuals with chronic conditions, including those with severe mental illness: The ACA established a new Medicaid flexibility that allows states to create health homes, a new care delivery model to improve care coordination and lower costs for individuals with chronic conditions, such as severe mental illness, Hepatitis C, diabetes and heart disease.
Individual market: 252,044 people in Missouri have coverage through the Marketplace. Individual market coverage is dramatically better compared to before the ACA:
- No discrimination based on pre-existing conditions: Up to 2,601,893 people in Missouri have a pre-existing health condition. Before the ACA, these Missourians could have been denied coverage or charged an exorbitant price if they needed individual market coverage. Now, health insurance companies cannot refuse coverage or charge people more because of pre-existing conditions.
- Tax credits available to help pay for coverage: Before the ACA, only those with employer coverage generally got tax benefits to help pay for health insurance. Now, 225,878 moderate- and middle-income Missourians receive tax credits averaging $315 per month to help them get covered through HealthCare.gov.
- Women pay the same as men: Before the ACA, women were often charged more than men just because of their gender. That is now illegal thanks to the ACA, protecting roughly half the people of Missouri.
- Greater transparency and choice: Before the ACA, it was virtually impossible for consumers to effectively compare insurance plan prices and shop for the best value. Under the ACA, Missouri has received $1 million in federal funding to provide a more transparent marketplace where consumers can easily compare plans, choosing among 17 plans on average.
Medicare: 1,163,543 people in Missouri are covered by Medicare. The ACA strengthened the Medicare Trust Fund, extending its life by over a decade. In addition, Medicare enrollees have benefited from:
- Lower costs for prescription drugs: Because the ACA is closing the prescription drug donut hole, 107,008 Missouri seniors are saving $103 million on drugs in 2015, an average of $962 per beneficiary.
- Free preventive services: The ACA added coverage of an annual wellness visit and eliminated cost-sharing for recommended preventive services such as cancer screenings. In 2015, 580,049 Missouri seniors, or 73 percent of all Missouri seniors enrolled in Medicare Part B, took advantage of at least one free preventive service.
- Fewer hospital mistakes: The ACA introduced new incentives for hospitals to avoid preventable patient harms and avoidable readmissions. Hospital readmissions for Missouri Medicare beneficiaries dropped 7 percent between 2010 and 2015, which translates into 2,311 times Missouri Medicare beneficiaries avoided an unnecessary return to the hospital in 2015.
- More coordinated care: The ACA encouraged groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers to come together to provide coordinated high-quality care to the Medicare patients they serve. 13 Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) in Missouri now offer Medicare beneficiaries the opportunity to receive higher quality, more coordinated care.