Joint effects of Medicaid eligibility and fees on recession-linked declines in healthcare access and health status

Joseph Benitez, Kevin Callison, E. Kathleen Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Whether Medicaid can function as a safety net to offset health risks created by health insurance coverage losses due to job loss is conditional on (1) the eligibility guidelines shaping the pathway for households to access the program for temporary relief, and (2) Medicaid reimbursement policies affecting the value of the program for both the newly and previously enrolled. We find states with more expansive eligibility guidelines lowered the healthcare access and health risk of coverage loss associated with rising unemployment during the 2007–2009 Great Recession. Rises in cost-related barriers to care associated with unemployment were smallest in states with expansive eligibility guidelines and higher Medicaid-to-Medicare fee ratios. Similarly, states whose Medicaid programs had expansive eligibility guidelines and higher fees saw the smallest recession-linked declines in self-reported good health. Medicaid can work to stabilize access to health care during periods of joblessness. Our findings yield important insights into the alignment of at least two Medicaid policies (i.e., eligibility and payment) shaping Medicaid's viability as a safety net.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Economics (United Kingdom)
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Keywords

  • Great Recession
  • Medicaid
  • health care access
  • public health insurance
  • safety net
  • unemployment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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