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Impacts of the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid Expansion on Women of Reproductive Age: Differences by Parental Status and State Policies

Published:December 20, 2017DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.whi.2017.11.005

      Abstract

      Introduction

      We use data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) from 2012 to 2015 to estimate the effects of the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) Medicaid expansions on insurance coverage and access to care for low-income women of reproductive age (19–44).

      Methods

      We use two-way fixed effects difference-in-differences models to estimate the effects of Medicaid expansions on low-income (<100% of the Federal Poverty Level) women of reproductive age. Additional models are stratified to estimate effects based on women's parental status, pre-ACA state Medicaid eligibility levels, and the presence of a state Medicaid family planning waiver.

      Results

      ACA Medicaid expansions decreased uninsurance among low-income women of reproductive age by 13.2 percentage points. This decrease was driven by a decrease of 27.4 percentage points for women without dependent children, who also experienced a decrease in the likelihood of not having a personal doctor (13.3 percentage points). We find a 3.8-percentage point reduction in the likelihood of experiencing a cost barrier to care among all women, but no significant effects for other access measures or subgroups. When stratified by state policies, decreases in uninsurance were greater in states expanding from pre-ACA eligibility levels of less than 50% of Federal Poverty Level (19.4 percentage points) and in states without a Medicaid family planning waiver (17.6 percentage points).

      Conclusions

      The ACA Medicaid expansion increased insurance coverage for low-income women of reproductive age, with the greatest effects for women without dependent children and women residing in states with relatively lower pre-ACA Medicaid eligibility levels or with no family planning waiver before the ACA.
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      Biography

      Emily M. Johnston, PhD, is a Research Associate in the Health Policy Center at the Urban Institute. Her research focuses on access to health care, particularly the effects of state and federal policies on the health and well-being of vulnerable populations.

      Biography

      Andrea E. Strahan, MPP, is a PhD student in the department of Health Policy and Management in the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University. Her research interests focus on policies that affect access and care delivery for women and children.

      Biography

      Peter Joski, MSPH, is a Senior Associate in the department of Health Policy and Management in the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, with a focus on data management and statistical analysis using SAS/Stata.

      Biography

      Anne L. Dunlop, MD, MPH, Associate Professor, Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, is a family and preventive medicine physician and maternal-child health researcher who conducts health services and epidemiologic research in women's preconception and interconception health care.

      Biography

      E. Kathleen Adams, PhD, is Professor in the department of Health Policy and Management in the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University. Her research is focused on the Medicaid program and other policies affecting access for low-income and vulnerable populations.