The ‘Medicaidization’ of Marketplaces: A Necessary Trend

Margaret Murray and Michael Adelberg.
Health Affairs blog, May 2017

When stripped of emotion and hyperbole, the debate about repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is fundamentally about how to stretch limited funds to offer health care to two populations in need: the poor, who receive health care through Medicaid, and the “near-poor,” who were frequently without coverage prior to the ACA’s enactment. While millions of the near-poor remain uninsured today, six out of 10 limited-income individuals who purchased health care through the ACA’s health insurance Marketplaces were uninsured prior to the ACA. It is this near-poor and recently insured population, and how to cost-effectively provide health care for them, that is the focus of this post.

Many insurers have ably managed their sicker- and poorer-than-expected Marketplace membership by borrowing from the playbook of the most similar market, Medicaid. In short, we believe that the “Medicaidization” of the Marketplaces is a necessary and positive trend, and we remind policy makers that regardless of legislation or regulatory change, health plans must employ the Medicaidization playbook to well-serve a population that both parties believe needs coverage.

Read the rest at the Health Affairs Blog.