A new study in Health Affairs shows an increase in access and affordability of health care following passage of the Affordable Care Act.
Using data from the nationally representative Health Reform Monitoring Survey, researchers found the share of non-elderly adults with access to care grew from September 2013 to March 2015, the end of the study period. In March 2015, 73.9% of adults aged 18-65 in the sample reported having a usual source of care, an increase of 3.4 percentage points over September 2013. Among low-income adults there was an 5.2 percentage point increase, and moderate-income adults saw a 4.2 percentage point increase.
The researchers also found a lower share of non-elderly adults reporting an unmet need for care because of cost. Among all adults, 32.3% reported cost as a factor in not seeking care, a decline of 2.7 percentage points. Among low-income adults, 44.8% reported an unmet need due to cost, a 10.5% decrease over the study period.
“By March 2015—more than a year following the implementation of the ACA’s major coverage provisions and the increases in coverage that have been reported across a number of studies—we found significant improvements in access to care and significant reductions in affordability challenges…Continued monitoring of the impact of the ACA and related policy developments on insurance coverage, access to care, and affordability of care will help determine whether this landmark legislation is meeting its key goals or whether further refinements are needed.”