With 14 million newly insured individuals gaining health coverage under the ACA since last year, 2014, nearly everyone expected doctors’ offices to be overwhelmed with new patients. But, according to recent statistics, that has simply not happened.
According to an AthenaHealth survey of 16,000 providers, there was only a slight uptick in new patient visits to primary care doctors in 2014, from 22.6 percent in 2013 to 22.9 percent in 2014.
Researchers say that people tend to access healthcare more when they are insured. And the ACA has expanded medical insurance coverage faster than any new health policy since Medicare and Medicaid were created in 1965. While 14 million newly insured sounds like a big number, it actually represents about 4 percent of Americans going from uninsured to insured status.
Many healthcare consultants and experts simply assumed that all these newly insured people would run right to the doctor’s office with a plethora of untreated or complex medical conditions. But the survey found no evidence of that. Logic dictates that a person with health insurance is not necessarily a sick person who needs to see a doctor. Those 14 million newly insured folks are not 14 million sick people.
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