Medicaid Expansion Improves Access to Behavioral Healthcare

Medicaid expansion is associated with a reduction in unmet behavioral health needs among low-income adults, according to a new report from HHS's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. One study cited in the report found that low-income individuals with a serious mental illness were 30% more likely to access mental health treatment if they were enrolled in Medicaid. As of 2014, 28% of low-income uninsured individuals living in non-expansion states had either a mental illness or a substance use disorder and "many" of those individuals would gain more affordable coverage if their state opted to expand Medicaid. The report also found that states that expand Medicaid may significantly improve their behavioral health programs—including increased availability of services—without incurring new costs, and that treating behavioral health conditions can reduce statewide disability rates, increase employment productivity, and decrease criminal justice costs.

Medicaid Expansion Increases State Savings and Revenue, Report Finds

Data from 11 Medicaid expansion states and D.C. confirm that states continue to realize savings and revenue gains as a result of expanding Medicaid, according to an updated report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation State Network and Manatt Health. Findings indicate any state that expands Medicaid should expect to: achieve savings related to previously eligible Medicaid beneficiaries becoming newly eligible for the adult group under expansion; reduce state spending on programs for the uninsured; and bring in additional revenue from existing insurer or provider taxes. Key examples of new state data include:

  • Pennsylvania estimated savings of $108 million in state fiscal year (SFY) 2015, as beneficiaries of a state-funded medical assistance program transitioned to the expansion group.
  • In SFY 2015, Arkansas decreased their spending on pregnant women by 50% (saving $15.2 million), and projects $24.4 million in savings for SFY 2016.