Access & Spending

Improving access, reducing spending

The goal is to improve access to health care in Pennsylvania while reducing Medicaid spending. How is this possible? The Department of Human Services has begun to reward health care providers for the quality of their care, focus on preventive screenings, and work to limit costly and sometimes unnecessary services, such as an overuse of emergency rooms.

Fewer uninsured means more can afford care

Uncompensated care happens when health care providers administer services for which they are not reimbursed. This often happens when people do not have health insurance coverage and cannot afford to pay for the cost of crucial care.
By expanding access to quality health care coverage, the goal is to make it so that fewer Pennsylvanians will be unable to afford health care services. In the visualization below, watch how uncompensated care decreases as more people gain access to health insurance.

Utilization of screenings

According to the CDC, if everyone in the U.S. received recommended clinical preventive care, we could save more than 100,000 lives each year. Additionally, when patients are encouraged to access preventive screenings and checkups, we can decrease the likelihood that they will need a more costly intervention down the road.
For thousands of Pennsylvanians, these screenings led to diagnoses in 2017:

Doctor visits

  • 1.17 million visits
  • 524,602 new patient visits
  • 485,151 visits by people covered
    by Medicaid expansion

Breast cancer

  • 104,696 screenings
  • 4,883 diagnoses (4.7%)
  • 54,061 screenings covered 
    by Medicaid expansion

Colon cancer

  • 68,566 screenings
  • 1,060 diagnoses (1.5%)
  • 11,811 polyps removed, cancer averted (17.2%)

Cervical cancer

  • 153,298 screenings
  • 1,725 diagnoses (1.1%)
  • 79,997 screenings covered 
    by Medicaid expansion

Prostate cancer

  • 38,829 screenings
  • 1,752 diagnoses (4.5%)
  • 22,401 screenings covered 
    by Medicaid expansion

These screening numbers make it clear that many more Pennsylvanians now have access to preventive care because of Medicaid expansion. In many counties, more than half of the adult preventive care in the map below was accessed thanks to Medicaid expansion. View those numbers in the map below:

Protecting children

Medicaid doesn't just cover adults. Thousands of children and adolescents accessed immunizations through the program in 2017. View the data by county below.