J Health Care Poor Underserved 14:420-435.
Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, Northern California Region, Oakland, CA, USA
The objective of this study was to compare the health care costs of adults with Medicaid aged 19 to 65 years (n = 29,680) and adults in the same age range with commercial insurance (n = 29,680) who were members of the same health maintenance organization between 1996 and 1998. After adjusting for age and sex, income-eligible Medicaid-insured adults were $35 (29 percent) per month more expensive than commercially insured adults. The medically needy/indigent (excluding “spend-down”) were $61 (51 percent) per month more expensive than commercially insured adults, and the blind or disabled were $289 (240 percent) per month more expensive. When the analysis adjusted for health status as well as age and sex, however, income-eligible Medicaid adults were $12 (p = 0.01) per month less costly than commercially insured adults. The costs of Medicaid-insured adults were substantially higher than those of commercially insured adults; these differences were likely due to higher rates of pregnancy and to worse health status among the Medicaid cohort.
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