Copayments Did Not Reduce Medicaid Enrollees' Nonemergency Use Of Emergency Departments

Department of Health Services Administration, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA.
Health Affairs (Impact Factor: 4.64). 09/2010; 29(9):1643-50. DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2009.0906
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Eager to reduce unnecessary use of hospital emergency departments by Medicaid enrollees, states are increasingly implementing cost sharing for nonemergency visits. This paper uses monthly data from the 2001-2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys (MEPS) to examine how changes in nine states' copayment policies influence enrollees' use of emergency departments. The results suggest that requiring copayments for nonemergency visits did not decrease emergency department use by Medicaid enrollees. Future research should examine more closely the effects at the state level and investigate whether these copayments affected the use of other services, such as hospitalizations or visits to physicians by Medicaid enrollees.

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May 16, 2014