Low-income people with diabetes are better able to afford their medications and manage their disease in states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a new study suggests.
The Health Affairs study, released Monday afternoon, found a roughly 40 percent increase in the number of prescriptions filled for diabetes drugs in Medicaid programs of the 30 states (including Washington, D.C.) that expanded eligibility in 2014 and 2015, compared with prior years.
By contrast, states that didn’t embrace the Medicaid expansion saw no notable increase.
“Gaining Medicaid insurance would have significantly reduced out-of-pocket spending for insulin for previously uninsured patients, thereby facilitating uptake of the medication,” the Health Affairs study said.
Diabetes, characterized by abnormally high blood sugar, is a chronic disease that requires expensive and ongoing medical care. More than 114 million adults in the U.S. have diabetes or prediabetes, making the disease one of the country’s most formidable health challenges.