Our new fact sheet summarizes research on how Medicaid provides economic security for families. By making health insurance accessible to children and parents, Medicaid keeps families healthy and also protects them from financial hardship. That economic security has the added benefit of insulating children from some of the adverse experiences of growing-up in poverty that can influence later outcomes in health and well-being. For millions of families, Medicaid is a lifeline that keeps them living above the poverty threshold: in 2010, Medicaid lifted an estimated 2.6 million to – 3.4 million individuals out of poverty.
Recent expansions in Medicaid for children and adults correspond with a decline in the share of families reporting problems paying medical bills. As the figure below shows, the percentage of poor and near poor children and adults who were in families having problems paying medical bills decreased by almost 30 percent. This is not surprising as Medicaid has been shown to successfully limit out-of-pocket costs, reduce the number of individuals who had to borrow money to pay bills, and reduce debt and related bankruptcies.