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Public Health Programs Require Less Per-Person Spending Than Private Plans

Armen Hareyan's picture

"Public and Private Insurance: Stacking Up the Costs," Health Affairs: The Web exclusive study -- by Leighton Ku, a professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, and Matthew Broaddus, a research analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities -- finds that providing health coverage to low-income people through public programs such as Medicaid and SCHIP, rather than through private health plans, results in lower per-person medical spending and out-of-pocket expenses.

For example, the study finds that total spending to provide full-year Medicaid coverage for an average low-income uninsured adult would have been $3,084 in 2005, compared with $3,899 for private coverage.

Annual out-of-pocket expenses for a Medicaid beneficiary would have totaled $109, compared with $771 for those enrolled in private health plans, according to the study (Ku/Broaddus, Health Affairs release, 6/24).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.