Low-Income Americans With Employer-Sponsored Insurance Face Financial Burdens From High-Deductible Plans

Issue #545
AHRQ News Now is a weekly newsletter that highlights agency research and program activities.
December 6, 2016

AHRQ Stats: Hospital Blood Transfusions

From 2000 to 2013, the number of hospital stays that included a red blood cell transfusion increased by nearly 86 percent. The most common inpatient condition requiring a red blood cell transfusion in 2013 was septicemia followed by gastrointestinal hemorrhage. (Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Statistical Brief #215: Trends in Hospitalizations With a Red Blood Cell Transfusion, 2000-2013.)

Today's Headlines:

Low-Income Americans With Employer-Sponsored Insurance Face Financial Burdens From High-Deductible Plans

Among enrollees in employer-sponsored insurance, those with family incomes below 250 percent of poverty were significantly more likely to experience financial burdens than middle- and high-income enrollees, according to a new AHRQ study. The likelihood of financial burdens increased sharply with plans that had higher deductible levels among low-income enrollees, according to the study, which appeared in the December issue of Health Affairs. Authors of the study, "The Financial Burdens of High-Deductible Plans," used 2011-2013 data from AHRQ's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to conduct the analysis. They found that more than a quarter of low-income adults enrolled in employer-sponsored high-deductible plans faced family out-of-pocket insurance premiums and health care spending that exceeded 20 percent of after-tax family income. Access the study abstract.

Medicaid Expansions Linked to Lasting Improvements in Oral Health

Expanded Medicaid eligibility geared toward pregnant women and infants during the 1980s and 1990s appears to have improved oral health among non-Hispanic black adults who became eligible as infants, an AHRQ study found. Findings using federal survey data suggest that the expansions may have had long-lasting effects on the oral health of the children, perhaps due to an increase in expectant mothers' use of prenatal care and access to health care, including dental care. Results also suggest that oral health among non-Hispanic black and Hispanic young adults may have improved due to expanded income eligibility for Medicaid enrollees ages 1 to 6. Taken together, these findings indicate that the Medicaid expansions of the 1980s and 1990s may have had long-lasting effects for certain low-income children and helped narrow racial/ethnic disparities in adult oral health. Access an abstract of the article, "Previous Medicaid Expansion May Have Had Lasting Positive Effects on Oral Health of Non-Hispanic Black Children," in the December issue of Health Affairs.

New AHRQ Views Blog Posts

Last Chance To Register for Dec. 14 TeamSTEPPS Webinar on Managing Disruptive Patients

Register now for an AHRQ webinar on Dec. 14 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET on how health care teams can manage and care for aggressive and disruptive patients while maintaining quality and safety through using the TeamSTEPPS patient safety training program. The webinar will highlight how TeamSTEPPS can help clinical teams address difficult situations, identifying behavioral triggers and underlying emotional or psychological issues that may cause the person in crisis to escalate to violent behavior. There is no cost to participate.

New Research and Evidence From AHRQ

Panel Offers Guidance in Updating Systematic Reviews

The question of updating systematic reviews, which synthesize relevant research around a particular question, was the subject of an expert panel organized by the Cochrane network, proceedings of which were published in BMJ. The panel deliberated questions regarding the resources needed to update a review and ways resources must be balanced by the benefits of the new information provided. Finding the right balance is important because making health care decisions requires access to summaries of the most current evidence, but there are limited resources and many questions. The panel developed a decision framework to determine the currency of a review or whether review needs to be updated. The panel provided guidance for updating reviews. The expert panel included Stephanie Chang, M.D., director of AHRQ's Evidence-based Practice Center program, which sponsors numerous systematic reviews and updates.

Featured Case Study: Tennessee Hospital Uses AHRQ Toolkit To Reduce Patient Falls

Vanderbilt University Hospital used AHRQ's Preventing Falls in Hospitals toolkit to reduce falls resulting in injury by 45 percent from 2015 to 2016. The 746-adult-bed hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, implemented the fall-prevention program in all 25 of its units and the emergency department. Access the case study.

AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Potentially preventable hospitalizations in Medicare patients with diabetes: a comparison of primary care provided by nurse practitioners versus physicians. Kuo YF, Chen NW, Baillargeon J, et al. Med Care 2015 Sep;53(9):776-83. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Rural Medicare beneficiaries have fewer follow-up visits and greater emergency department use postdischarge. Toth M, Holmes M, Van Houtven C, et al. Med Care 2015 Sep;53(9):800-8. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Factors associated with adverse events during tracheal intubation in the NICU. Foglia EE, Ades A, Napolitano N, et al. Neonatology 2015;108(1):23-9. Epub 2015 May 6. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

The most commonly dispensed prescription medications among pregnant women enrolled in the U.S. Medicaid program. Palmsten K, Hernández-Diaz S, Chambers CD, et al. Obstet Gynecol 2015 Sep;126(3):465-73. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Gender disparities in academic practice. Waljee JF, Chang KW, Kim HM, et al. Plast Reconstr Surg 2015 Sep;136(3):380e-387e. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Discussion: Are quantitative measures of academic productivity correlated with academic rank in plastic surgery? A national study. Waljee JF. Plast Reconstr Surg 2015 Sep;136(3):622-3. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Development and pilot testing of caregiver-reported pediatric quality measures for transitions between sites of care. Desai AD, Burkhart Q, Parast L, et al. Acad Pediatr 2016 Nov-Dec;16(8):760-769. Epub 2016 Aug 2. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

More than telemonitoring: health provider use and nonuse of life-log data in irritable bowel syndrome and weight management. Chung CF, Cook J, Bales E, et al. J Med Internet Res 2015 Aug 21;17(8):e203. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Page last reviewed December 2016
Page originally created December 2016
Internet Citation: Low-Income Americans With Employer-Sponsored Insurance Face Financial Burdens From High-Deductible Plans. Content last reviewed December 2016. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. https://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/e-newsletter/545.html
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