The Effect on Hospital Services When Uninsured Patients Become Insured

The availability of insurance has not reduced the number of Virginia uninsured patients. But those who are still uninsured appear to use services that differ from their insured counterparts. The charts below illustrate the trends from 2012 and 2014. The most frequent discharge diagnosis for insured patients is a delivery diagnosis-related group (DRG). For uninsured patients, the most frequent discharge DRG is for psychosis. The DRG group ranked first didn't change over the two years in either group. But a new DRG has moved into third place for uninsured patients – alcohol and substance abuse. Alcohol and substance abuse as a category was not in the top five DRGs two years ago for uninsured patients. As access to health insurance improves, those who remain uninsured are chronic behavioral health and substance abuse patients. These issues limit the individuals’ employability and their economic stability declines. The ripple effect of the trend is a decline in population health. (7/9/2015)

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