Topeka Federal health reform will provide insurance coverage to nearly 200,000 Kansans who don’t have it now, according to a report released Tuesday.
Total spending on health care will increase slightly, but the federal share of paying for health care in Kansas will increase 30 percent, the report said.
The analysis of the impact of federal health reform was commissioned by the Kansas Health Policy Authority and done by the independent actuarial firm of schramm-raleigh Health Strategy. It represents the first major study of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in Kansas since the law was enacted earlier this year.
There are currently an estimated 335,000 uninsured people in Kansas, about 12 percent of the state’s population.
As a result of federal health reform, the number of uninsured will be reduced by approximately 190,000, leaving an uninsured population of approximately 145,000, the report said.
With many of the major portions of the law taking effect in 2014, those getting insurance will do so through expansion of Medicaid, more large employee group policies and the new subsidized exchange markets.
Total health care spending in Kansas, including state and federal government, employers and individuals, totals $13.418 billion per year. After the reforms take place, that total is expected to grow by about $150 million, or 1.1 percent, the report said.
The report notes that Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which were originally designed as “safety-net” programs, will become the largest source of coverage.
“This is a significant change,” said Steve Schramm, managing director of the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based schramm-raleigh Health Strategy.
Medicaid is the joint federal-state funded program that provides health coverage to nearly 300,000 Kansans. In Kansas, it is not available to childless adults. That will change under the reforms, and the federal government will pay all of the cost of those newly eligible through 2017 and then reduce that to 90 percent by 2020.
“They (the federal government) have effectively tried to soften the blow of increasing this mandate,” Schramm said.
Federal spending is expected to increase by more than $800 million per year to take care of the new Medicaid enrollees, the report said.
Meanwhile, state government spending is expected to remain flat; large employers will spend slightly more while small employers will spend much less.
“Spending by individual consumers will account for a smaller percentage of total health care spending, but the impact on any given individual will depend on that person’s circumstances,” an executive summary of the report said.
Of those remaining uninsured, many will be young adults who will opt to pay the tax penalties for not getting insurance, which will be less than the cost of coverage in many instances, the report said.
Schramm said the initial tax penalties will be about $700 per year, while an individual insurance policy could cost from $4,500 per year and up. He said it will be up to states to decide what to do when an uninsured person requires health treatment.
The report was funded by the United Methodist Health Ministries. A spokesman for the KHPA said he didn’t know how much the study cost.