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How Will the Affordable Care Act Affect the Use of Health Care Services?

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Overview

In January 2014, the Affordable Care Act extended access to health insurance coverage to an estimated 30 million previously uninsured people. This issue brief provides state-level estimates of the increased demand for physician and hospital services that is expected to result from expanded access and assesses the sufficiency of the existing supply of providers to accommodate the anticipated increase in demand. We project that primary care providers will see, on average, 1.34 additional office visits per week, accounting for a 3.8 percent increase in visits nationally. Hospital outpatient departments will see, on average, 1.2 to 11.0 additional visits per week, or an average increase of about 2.6 percent nationally. Increases of the magnitude likely to be generated by the Affordable Care Act will have modest effects on the demand for health services, and the existing supply of providers should be sufficient to accommodate this increased demand.

Read the brief.

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Publication Details

Publication Date: February 25, 2015
Contact: Sherry A. Glied, Dean, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University
Citation: S. Glied and S. Ma, How Will the Affordable Care Act Affect the Use of Health Care Services? The Commonwealth Fund, February 2015.

Experts

Dean, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University
Analyst, Integrated Care Centers Team, Village Health/DaVita Kidney Care