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ACA Has Increased Coverage, Access for Chronically Ill Patients

However, nearly one in seven of those with a chronic disease still lack coverage

doctor with a female patient

TUESDAY, Jan. 24, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Millions of Americans with a chronic illness gained health insurance coverage after the Affordable Care Act went into effect in 2010, according to a study published online Jan. 24 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Researchers reviewed data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an annual survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The team analyzed the responses of 606,277 adults with at least one chronic disease in the year before and the year after the ACA was implemented.

States that expanded Medicaid under the ACA experienced a larger increase in coverage of the chronically ill, the investigators found. On average, Medicaid-expansion states increased coverage by 5.6 percentage points, from 82.8 percent with insurance before the ACA to 88.5 percent after the law went into effect. But even states that didn't expand Medicaid experienced an increase, rising 4.2 percentage points from 77.0 percent before to 81.2 percent after the ACA was enacted.

However, nearly one in seven of those with a chronic disease still lacked coverage, including 20 percent of chronically ill black patients and one-third of chronically ill Hispanics, the researchers found.

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