Introduction: Hypertension is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), the leading cause of death in the United States. The treatment and control of hypertension is inadequate, especially among patients without health insurance coverage. The Affordable Care Act offered an opportunity to improve hypertension management by increasing the number of people covered by insurance. This study predicts the long-term effects of improved hypertension treatment rates due to insurance expansions on the prevalence and mortality rates of CVD of nonelderly Americans with hypertension.
Methods: We developed a state-transition model to simulate the lifetime health events of the population aged 25 to 64 years. We modeled the effects of insurance coverage expansions on the basis of published findings on the relationship between insurance coverage, use of antihypertensive medications, and CVD-related events and deaths.
Results: The model projected that currently anticipated health insurance expansions would lead to a 5.1% increase in treatment rate among hypertensive patients. Such an increase in treatment rate is estimated to lead to 111,000 fewer new coronary heart disease events, 63,000 fewer stroke events, and 95,000 fewer CVD-related deaths by 2050. The estimated benefits were slightly greater for men than for women and were greater among nonwhite populations.
Conclusion: Federal and state efforts to expand insurance coverage among nonelderly adults could yield significant health benefits in terms of CVD prevalence and mortality rates and narrow the racial/ethnic disparities in health outcomes for patients with hypertension.