About 3/4 of the Kentuckians getting free exams and screenings via Medicaid are covered by its expansion, study finds

More than three-fourths of the Kentuckians who got free medical screenings through Medicaid last summer were covered by the expansion of the program under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to a study done for the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

Likewise, almost three-fourths of Medicaid substance-abuse treatments were for people included in the expansion of the program to people with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, $16,394 for an individual or $33,534 for a family of four.

Medicaid covered more than 44,000 dental exams, 10,143 screenings for breast cancer, 6,319 colorectal cancer screenings, 6,153 hepatitis C screenings and 4,495 diabetes screenings for non-elderly Kentucky adults during July, August and September 2016. It also covered 7,039 births, 22 percent of which were for for expansion patients.

“The dramatic growth in preventive health screenings for low-income Kentucky adults is one of the most meaningful benefits of Medicaid expansion in Kentucky,” said Ben Chandler, CEO of the foundation. “Getting recommended tests such as colorectal cancer screenings, mammograms or dental exams gives Kentuckians the chance to either prevent chronic disease or get earlier treatment. These screenings can quite literally save lives. They can also lead to significant savings for Medicaid and other programs that pay the cost of caring for Kentuckians who otherwise would put off medical visits and just get sicker.”

Since the Medicaid expansion began in January 2014, people covered by it have had 224,720 dental exams, 15,692 screenings for diabetes, 59,529 breast cancer screenings, 38,190 colorectal cancer screenings, 24,157 hepatitis C screenings and 53,465 substance-abuse treatments, according to the study by the Health Access Data Assistance Center at the University of Minnesota.

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