There are many challenges that are faced with the Medicaid program. There has been much research conducted which has shown that even though low-income people are more likely than those with private insurance to smoke or suffer from depression, newer research is showing also that they are more motivated to quit. The Associated Press conducted an analysis which showed many Medicaid recipients are very invested in their overall health. Four out of five Medicaid recipients have a personal primary care doctor. Three out of those five eat healthy meals and exercise regularly.
It is thought that Medicaid could gain much if they started to put more emphasis on prevention and stressing a more coordinating method of care. Many of these strategies are already being used by many Medicare plans and workplace health insurance plans.
Medicaid was originally a federal-state program used as a safety net for the severely disabled and very low-income families. Nowadays, the Medicaid program covers around one out of every five Americans. It costs the country nearly $600 billion each year. For the states which expanded Medicaid under President Obama’s health plan law, it became the main insurer for many adults who are working and still considered low-income.
In a study conducted by Gallup-Sharecare, only thirty-six percent of all Medicaid recipients admitted that they smoke on a regular basis. This is compared to only thirteen-percent of those who have union or employer health insurance plans. For Medicare recipients, the number of smokers was only around sixteen-percent.
Aside from the survey, it has been noted that just because someone smokes does not mean they don’t take an interest in their overall health. Smokers tend to have just as much interest in their general health as do the other groups. Having a lower income has usually been associated with poor health for many years.
In theory, all of the networks that are used by the Medicaid insurers could also benefit from promoting care coordination and prevention. The population who uses Medicaid is not simply just an employer population that makes less income. These are people who have genuine health issues. There are high rates of anxiety and depression which can be inextricably linked to the ability to perform work effectively and stay physically healthy.
Certain states are working towards getting on top of the health challenges that are faced with their own Medicaid recipients. For example, people in Michigan who are covered by Medicaid get annual health assessments completed. These are similar to workplace programs for wellness checkups.