Better Health Care Access in Kentucky and Arkansas, Study Says
Low-income adults in Kentucky and Arkansas have had similar improvements in access to medical care under the Affordable Care Act, a new study found, despite the two states’ differing approaches to expanding Medicaid.
Both states expanded their Medicaid programs in 2014 to cover most adults with incomes under 138 percent of the federal poverty level, as the health law allows. While new enrollees in Kentucky joined its traditional Medicaid program, Arkansas chose to buy private coverage for poor people through the new federal insurance marketplace using federal Medicaid funds, a model that several other states have since followed. Its program, known as the private option, was intended to appeal to Republicans who opposed expanding a federal entitlement program.
The study, published in Health Affairs, found that Arkansas and Kentucky had significant reductions in the number of low-income adults without insurance from 2013 to 2014. In Arkansas, the number of uninsured for the group dropped to 19.4 percent from 41.8 percent; Kentucky’s rate dropped to 12.4 percent from 40.2 percent.