Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Does the government under-report the number of uninsured patients after health care reform?

BACKGROUND: In 2006, Massachusetts Healthcare Reform (MHR) was implemented.

METHODS: a retrospective review of all patients treated by the orthopaedic trauma services at three of the four level-I trauma centers in Boston from 2003 to 2010 was performed.

RESULTS: A total of 16,338 patients were evaluated. There was a significant decrease in the uninsured rate from 24% to 14% following MHR (p < 0.001). There was also a reduction in the proportion of uncompensated care from 17% to 11.5% after MHR. State and Federal government reported that over 98% of patients in Massachusetts had health insurance after MHR.

CONCLUSIONS: There was an estimated 40% reduction in risk of uninsured individuals in the orthopaedic trauma population in the metropolitan Boston area following MHR. Despite a significant improvement, these results reveal a rate of uninsured individuals fivefold greater than currently reported by the state of Massachusetts and the U.S. government.

J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2014 Aug 20;96(16):e141