Fascinating article in McClatchy News today about the conundrum Medicaid leaders will face with new enrollees next year. Consider these quotes from the article:
- Hispanics, who can be black or white, likely will make up 28 percent of the new Medicaid population, according to estimates by Avalere Health, a Washington research and consulting firm. That syncs with a Health Research Institute estimate that more than one-third will not speak English as their primary language, which can be a formidable obstacle to quality care.
“We anticipate that this will be a significant challenge, both for insurers and for providers,” said Ceci Connolly, PwC's Health Research Institute's managing director. “Some large integrated health systems are already looking at specific geographic markets where this could be a problem and are working on translating material, bilingual call center staffers, bilingual signage, and multi-lingual providers.”
- Avalere also estimates that nearly 12 percent, or about 960,000, of the new Medicaid enrollees will have a serious mental illness that requires treatment.
“You’ve got a disproportionately high prevalence of serious mental illness, schizophrenia, major depressive disorders, manic depression, which of course contributes to their not being able to maintain a job and have a higher income,” said Caroline Pearson, health reform director at Avalere.
But because they are younger than the current Medicaid population, the new enrollees also will be less likely to have the sorts of nagging, chronic illnesses that older Medicaid enrollees face. In fact, nearly four out of five new enrollees self-report their health condition to be either good, very good or excellent, according Avalere.
- That bodes well for holding down the cost of their care. But until they are actually in the health care system, speculation about their medical needs is still a guessing game.
Looks like we are in for a wild ride folks. Medicaid expansion is critical, but it is equally critical that mental health advocates pay attention to what happens as expansion efforts roll out. Knowledge is power - we will keep informing you as things take shape.
- Read the full article by Tony Pugh of here.