The Value of Medicaid: Providing Access to Preventive Care Services

Medicaid helps millions of Americans achieve health and financial security through access to affordable health care services. The program covers more than 74 million Americans, many of whom would otherwise lack health insurance.

While Medicaid provides access to a variety of valuable health care services, preventive care services are particularly important to beneficiaries’ health and wellness. Preventive care services diagnose health problems earlier and promote healthy behavior. This reduces the risk of chronic conditions and the need for costly medical treatment.

Preventive care services include:

  • Regular health screenings, including colonoscopies and mammograms
  • Vaccinations, including those for polio, measles, and meningitis
  • Testing for chronic diseases, including hypertension and diabetes

Access to preventive care services is crucial for individuals covered by Medicaid, who are more likely to have higher rates of chronic conditions. According to Kaiser Family Foundation, Medicaid beneficiaries are almost twice as likely to report poor or just fair health conditions compared to those with commercial health insurance.

The 2013-2015 Medical Expenditures Panel Survey (MEPS) polled nearly 40,000 people, providing the latest information on the cost and use of their health care and health insurance coverage in the United States. In a recent analysis of the survey data, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) found that:

  • Medicaid beneficiaries were more likely to have a usual source of health care compared to the uninsured
  • Adults and children enrolled in Medicaid health plans were more likely to receive preventive care services compared to the uninsured
  • Medicaid beneficiaries have similar access to preventive care services compared to those with commercial health insurance

With many Medicaid beneficiaries at an elevated risk for chronic disease, Medicaid ensures they have access to the preventive care services needed to improve health outcomes, increase productivity, and reduce health care costs.