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6 Steps To Impacting Medicaid ER Utilization

Posted by Alicia MacLeod on Oct 25, 2018 2:46:47 PM

There was once an assumption that the expansion of Medicaid would yield recipients consuming more primary care services rather than seeking out the Emergency Room as their first stop in health care decisions. Several years after the inception of the Affordable Care Act, we’ve learned this is not the case. A recent Washington Times article pointed out that Medicaid expansion has, in fact, not pushed those using Medicaid benefits to PCPs, rather it has increased the traffic to emergency rooms. So, why are Medicaid recipients two times as likely to seek out care at the emergency room rather than a lower-cost option or using their primary care provider? Simply put, it comes down to benefit design, education, and ultimately consumer engagement. In populations like Medicaid, where benefit design and education on health care consumption are not widely understood or properly communicated, there is poor engagement, which perpetuates inappropriate benefit use. 

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