Do United States-based Medicaid spend-down programmes make public sense for persons with HIV/AIDS?

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Medicaid is a US government insurance programme designed primarily for poor individuals, with expenditures that rose more than 13% in 2002. Thirty-five states have programmes allowing individuals to incur medical expenses at a rate that would make them poor enough to meet Medicaid eligibility criteria. This paper examines the cost of providing care to those spending-down to Medicaid compared to those eligible without spending-down. This longitudinal cohort study compiled inpatient, outpatient and Medicaid data from three academic Infectious Diseases clinics serving approximately 40% of the reported HIV-positive population in North Carolina. Participants included all HIV-positive patients who received care in one of three clinics and received Medicaid coverage at any time from 1996 to 2000 (1,495 individuals). Overall, those who needed to spend-down to Medicaid incurred higher medical costs, following a distinctive pattern of high costs when initially qualified and when ending coverage, and low costs while on spend-down. US states may wish to consider expanding Medicaid's categorically eligible criteria or significantly reducing the frequency with which persons must spend-down to become eligible for Medicaid.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Whetten, K; Zhu, CW

Published Date

  • August 2004

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 16 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 781 - 785

PubMed ID

  • 15370065

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1360-0451

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0954-0121

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/09540120412331269611


  • eng