Federally-Assisted Healthcare Coverage among Male State Prisoners with Chronic Health Problems.
Prisoners have higher rates of chronic diseases such as substance dependence, mental health conditions and infectious disease, as compared to the general population. We projected the number of male state prisoners with a chronic health condition who at release would be eligible or ineligible for healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We used ACA income guidelines in conjunction with reported pre-arrest social security benefits and income from a nationally representative sample of prisoners to estimate the number eligible for healthcare coverage at release. There were 643,290 US male prisoners aged 18-64 with a chronic health condition. At release, 73% in Medicaid-expansion states would qualify for Medicaid or tax credits. In non-expansion states, 54% would qualify for tax credits, but 22% (n = 69,827) had incomes of ≤ 100% the federal poverty limit and thus would be ineligible for ACA-mediated healthcare coverage. These prisoners comprise 11% of all male prisoners with a chronic condition. The ACA was projected to provide coverage to most male state prisoners with a chronic health condition; however, roughly 70,000 fall in the "coverage gap" and may require non-routine care at emergency departments. Mechanisms are needed to secure coverage for this at risk group and address barriers to routine utilization of health services.
Rosen, DL; Grodensky, CA; Holley, TK
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