Rural Health Policy Project

Louisiana Report: 2016 Medicaid Expansion Cut Adult Uninsured Rate in Half, Reduced Coverage Disparities, Benefited Rural and Urban Areas

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A new report from the Louisiana Department of Health, the 2017 Louisiana Health Insurance Survey, shows multiple positive effects from Louisiana’s recent Medicaid expansion – and continuing overall satisfaction with Medicaid and other coverage.  While the report focused on adult coverage, it also noted that Louisiana retains its remarkable success at reducing the uninsured rate for children in the state with only 2.4 percent of children uninsured in 2017.  Overall, the major points:

Uninsured Rate Cut in Half:  Before Louisiana expanded Medicaid on July 1, 2016, the state’s uninsured rate for adults under age 65 was around 22 percent.  In 2017 after full implementation of Medicaid expansion the uninsured rate for this group dropped to 11 percent – a dramatic reduction.

Rural and Urban Areas Both Benefit:  These gains for adults getting affordable coverage were also remarkably consistent across the state. Louisiana was able to extend affordable Medicaid coverage just as effectively in most rural areas as in urban areas.

Coverage Rate Disparity Reduced:  Louisiana, like many states, suffers from a significant disparity in uninsured rates between African-American and white adults.  Prior to Medicaid expansion uninsured rates for black residents were 5.6 percent more than for white residents.  After Medicaid expansion, this difference declined substantially – in 2017 only 1.6 percent more black adults were uninsured than white adults. While the goal should clearly be zero difference, this major reduction is a significant achievement.

Most Satisfied with Coverage:  The Louisiana survey also asked everyone – whether they had Medicaid, employer coverage or other coverage – if they could see the providers they needed to and if their premiums were not too costly.  Overall, people were generally satisfied with their coverage on these measures

Adam Searing
Adam Searing is an Associate Professor of the Practice at the Center for Children and Families

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