Health Insurance Coverage Increased ER Use in Massachusetts
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"This obviously has implications about what we can expect to see nationally as the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act continues," said
Dr. Smulowitz and his colleagues found emergency department visits increased by as much as 1.2 percent between
The data included all emergency department visits in
Overall emergency visits by the uninsured under the age of 65 decreased from 9.5 percent of overall visits before health reform to 5.7 percent of the visits after health reform implementation. Emergency department visits from those 65 and older remained steady at about 1 percent.
"Our study should further weaken the long-held notion that high use of the emergency department is driven mainly by the uninsured," said Dr. Smulowitz. "Barriers to primary care are serious and persistent across the country. It appears that when people have health insurance, they will seek medical care wherever they can get it, which is sometimes only the ER."
Annals of Emergency Medicine is the peer-reviewed scientific journal for the