Heterogeneous Effects of Affordable Care Act Medicaid Expansions among Women with Dependent Children by State-Level Pre-Expansion Eligibility


Objectives: This study explores the heterogeneity in effects of the 2014 Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid expansions on insurance coverage, health care access, and health status of low-income women with dependent children by pre-expansion state-level income eligibility. Materials and Methods: We employ a quasiexperimental difference-in-differences design comparing outcome changes in Medicaid expansion states to nonexpansion states. We estimate effects separately for three groups of expansion states based on pre-expansion (2013) parent income eligibility: low pre-expansion eligibility (<90% of federal poverty level [FPL]), high eligibility (90% to <138% FPL), and full eligibility (≥138% FPL). Study samples include women with dependent children below 138% FPL from the 2011 to 2018 American Community Survey for the insurance outcomes, and from the 2011 to 2018 Behavioral Risk Surveillance System for the access and health outcomes. Results: There is stark heterogeneity in changes of health insurance and health care access by pre-expansion income eligibility levels. In comparison to Medicaid non-expansion states, there are large increases in insured rate (9 percentage-points) and Medicaid coverage (16 percentage-points) in expansion states with low pre-expansion eligibility. Insurance changes are much smaller in states with high or full pre-expansion eligibility. Changes in access largely mirror those in coverage. There are no significant changes in health status regardless of pre-expansion eligibility. Conclusions: The ACA Medicaid expansions increased coverage and access for low-income women with dependent children primarily in states with low pre-expansion parent eligibility, and therefore, reduced differences in these outcomes between expansion states.

Publication Title

Journal of Women's Health