Health care under AHCCCS: an examination of Arizona's alternative to Medicaid

Health Serv Res. 1985 Aug;20(3):245-66.


In late 1982, as an alternative to Medicaid, Arizona implemented a prepaid, competitively bid medical care program--the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS). Before its introduction, the poor had been cared for primarily by a network of county-supported centers. Impact of the AHCCCS initiative was examined by surveying comparable samples of poor persons in pre-AHCCCS 1982, and in 1984, after the program was in place. Both before and since AHCCCS, Arizona has had very restrictive eligibility requirements; to examine the program's impact on both eligible persons and the so-called "notch" group, the samples consist of individuals with family incomes within 200 percent of the program's financial criterion. Telephone surveys revealed that overall a lower proportion of the poor were enrolled in AHCCCS in 1984 than participated in county programs in 1982. However, access to care increased for AHCCCS enrollees in 1984, compared to county patients in 1982--and a greater proportion of 1984 AHCCCS enrollees than their 1982 counterparts in the county programs had at least one medical encounter in the 12 months preceding the surveys. For its enrolled population, then, AHCCCS may be a viable alternative to conventional Medicaid programs and to previous efforts at providing care at county sites. But the poor financially ineligible for AHCCCS are experiencing decreased opportunities for health services. The conclusions address the policy implications of the findings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aid to Families with Dependent Children
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Arizona
  • Cost Control / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Eligibility Determination
  • Ethnicity
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Medicaid*
  • Medical Assistance / statistics & numerical data*
  • Medical Indigency
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Social Security