Payment levels, resource use, and insurance risk of medicaid versus private insured in three states

Academic Article


  • Concerns with access and costs in the Medicaid program often lead policy makers to consider alternatives. These include subsidizing poor persons' purchases of health insurance in private markets or integrating Medicaid beneficiaries into commercial managed care systems. As policy makers consider such alternatives, a persistent question is, apart from the disabled within Medicaid, do younger Medicaid enrollees represent a different insurance risk than people of similar age and sex within private insurance pools? We use 1994 data from Georgia, Mississippi, and California to assess relative payment levels, resource use/costs, and risk-adjusted utilization of fee-for-service (FFS) Medicaid enrollees versus privately insured people. When resources are valued at private prices, the use by Medicaid enrollees represents a higher cost. After risk adjustment, Medicaid enrollee resource use appears higher than expected for the privately insured only for outpatient facility visits in the southern states and for inpatient days by pregnant women in California Medi-Cal. Indeed, we find evidence that Medicaid enrollees are underserved relative to their health needs. Given the higher dollar value of their resource usage, apparently obtained under FFS at discounted provider rates, and the lack of evidence on significant overuse relative to need, their integration into private provider systems appears challenging.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Pubmed Id

  • 1750077
  • Author List

  • Adams EK; Bronstein JM; Becker ER; Hood CR
  • Start Page

  • 72
  • End Page

  • 91
  • Volume

  • 28
  • Issue

  • 1