ACAView: Tracking the Impact of Health Care Reform

Observations on the Affordable Care Act: 2014

The Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health insurance expansion has not overwhelmed physician practices according to real-time data from athenahealth.

The Issue

In the first year of the ACA’s health insurance expansion, some expected an influx of sick, newly insured patients to burden many practices across the nation. However, in 2014 there was only a very small increase in new patients while the percentage of patients with complex medical needs decreased.

Key Findings

  • New patient visits to primary care providers increased very slightly from 22.6 percent of all appointments in 2013 to 22.9 percent in 2014.

  • The percentage of visits with patients with complex medical needs decreased from 8.0% of appointments in 2013 to 7.5 percent in 2014.

  • The ACA has decreased the overall proportion of uninsured patients receiving care in physician offices, especially in Medicaid expansion states.

  • The number of diagnoses per patient visit also did not increase sharply compared to the previous year’s data.

Conclusion

Although millions of Americans gained insurance over the past year, physicians have not seen a dramatic increase in new or sicker patients.

About the Grantee

athenahealth is a leading provider of cloud-based services for electronic health records (EHR), revenue cycle management and medical billing, patient engagement, care coordination, and population health management, as well as Epocrates and other point-of-care mobile apps. athenahealth connects care and drives meaningful, measurable results for more than 62,000 health care providers in medical practices and health systems nationwide. For more information, please visit www.athenahealth.com.

ACAView 2014 report infograph: Has the Affordable Care Act Affected Demand for Physicians?