More Arkansans had medical insurance as of 2016, medical debt still rising

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 164 views 

A report by the Commonwealth Fund said the percentage of Arkansas adults who went without medical care because of the cost decreased in 2016.

The report released Dec. 21 shows 16% of adults in Arkansas went without health care because of the cost in 2015, compared to 18% in 2014. Citing information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of adults across the nation who went without health care in the past year for the same reason fell from 14% in 2014 to 13% in 2015.  Arkansas still ranks 45th out of 50 states for accessibility and affordability of health care for its residents.

The Commonwealth Fund compiled information on changes in health care access across the country since Jan. 1, 2014, when new subsidies for coverage became available under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

While a few more Arkansans are now covered by health insurance, the out of pocket-costs for the state’s residents remains among the highest in the nation relative to income levels. The report also found that people without insurance receive significantly less care than the insured.

Another observation that officials say is part of the broken system is that many insured people have had to choose deductibles much higher than in previous years in order to keep total premium costs down as employers shifted a bulk of the costs onto employees. These higher deductibles have left many insured people exposed to nearly 100% of their medical costs up to $10,000.

Arkansas ranked in the bottom quartile in two categories – adults who went without care because of high deductibles and adults who have the highest out-of-pocket costs for medical spending. Arkansas ranked in the third quartile for adults under 64 having affordable access to health insurance coverage and those at-risk without a doctor’s visit.