Medicaid Eligibility Expansions May Address Gaps In Access To Diabetes Medications

In 2014 and 2015, 29 states and the District of Columbia expanded eligibility for Medicaid among low-income adults. In a new study published in the August 2018 issue of Health Affairs, researchers from the University of Southern California and the University of Chicago analyzed data on more than 96 million prescriptions filled using Medicaid insurance between 2008 and 2015 to evaluate the impact of expansion on access to diabetes medications.

The researchers found that states that expanded access to Medicaid had an additional 30 diabetes prescriptions filled per 1,000 people and the increase in prescriptions grew significantly over time. The study also showed that prescriptions increased for a variety of diabetes medications, from first-line prescriptions typically given to newly-diagnosed patients, such as metformin, to newer, more advanced forms of insulin. Overall, prescription fills for insulin increased by 40 percent and newer medications increased by 39 percent in Medicaid expansion states after these states expanded Medicaid eligibility, while trends in non-expansion states were essentially unchanged.

The full study is available at Health Affairs.

Citation:  Myerson, R., Lu, T., Tonnu-Mihara, I., Huang, E.S. (2018). Medicaid Eligibility Expansions May Address Gaps in Access to Diabetes Medications. Health Affairs.