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Interruptions in Medicaid coverage linked to increased hospitalization
Date:12/16/2008

ment and hospital discharge data for more than four million California adults examines the number of Medicaid beneficiaries who experienced interrupted coverage and their hospitalization rates between 1998 and 2002.

During the study period, one in six Medicaid beneficiaries in the U.S. resided in California. More than 62% of eligible beneficiaries experienced interruptions in their Medicaid coverage during the study period, with an average interruption of 25 months.

The study authors recommend that states implement policies to reduce the frequency of interruptions in Medicaid coverage, to help prevent health events that require hospitalization and thereby reduce high-cost hospital spending.

As more individuals lose jobs as the result of the current economy, states can expect to see an increase in the number of people enrolling in Medicaid. An increasing number of states, grappling with their own budget shortfalls, are assessing how frequently Medicaid beneficiaries should be required to demonstrate eligibility.

"Individuals are more likely to seek Medicaid coverage during an economic downturnat the same time states are more likely to face budget shortfalls and are likely to seek ways to cut health care costs. States will need to ensure that people have access to the Medicaid program when they need it most," said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis.


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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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