Obamacare Could Reverse Long Trend of Uncompensated Care in ERs

Emergency departments are likely to receive much higher reimbursements once the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is fully implemented, according to a study published in Annals of Emergency Medicine. Assuming typical reimbursement patterns continue, emergency department reimbursement may increase 17% for outpatient visits to the ER for uninsured people who go on Medicaid and 39% for uninsured people who move to the private insurance market.

Emergency departments have carried the bulk of theburden of uncompensated care, which has led to hundreds closing. Over the next few years, that picture could change substantially, said lead study author Jessica Galarraga, MD, MPH, of George Washington Univ.

About 7 million people are expected to enroll in Medicaid as a result of the Affordable Care Act and 23 million are expected to get private insurance through health insurance exchanges.

GW researcher Jesse Pines, MD, MBA says that one question is what happens in the 13 states whose governors have said they will not participate in Medicaid expansion, especially those with high rates of uninsurance? Another question is whether the reduction in disproportionate share of hospital payments will outweigh the new sources of reimbursement. For more information, visit www.annemergmed.com

Last Updated 10/20/2021

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