Private/marketplace insurance in community health centers 5 years post-affordable care act in medicaid expansion and non-expansion states

Prev Med. 2020 Dec;141:106271. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2020.106271. Epub 2020 Oct 9.


Community health centers (CHCs) play an important role in providing care for the safety net population. After implementation of the Affordable Care Act, many patients gained insurance through state and federal marketplaces. Using electronic health record data from 702,663 patients in 257 clinics across 20 states, we sought to explore the following differences between Medicaid expansion and non-expansion state CHCs: (1) trends in private/marketplace insurance post-expansion, and (2) whether CHC patients retain private/marketplace insurance. We found that patients in non-expansion state CHCs relied more heavily on private/marketplace insurance than patients in expansion states and had increases in private/marketplace-insured visits from 2014 through 2018. Additionally, there appeared to be seasonal variation in private/marketplace-insured visits that were more pronounced in non-expansion states. While a greater percentage of patients in non-expansion states retained private/marketplace insurance than in expansion states, a greater percentage of those who did not retain it became uninsured. In comparison, a greater percentage of patients in expansion states who lost private/marketplace insurance gained other types of health insurance. CHCs' ability to provide adequate care for vulnerable populations relies, in part, on federal grants as well as reimbursement from insurers: decreases in either could result in reduced capacity or quality of care for patients seen in CHCs.

Keywords: Affordable Care Act (ACA); Community health centers (CHCs); Health insurance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Centers
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Insurance, Health
  • Medicaid*
  • Medically Uninsured
  • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act*
  • United States