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Ten reasons to support Medicaid expansion - #5

Retirement Savings
#5: Medicaid Expansion will reduce

uncompensated care

in Nebraska


  • The cost of health care services is beyond the ability of most Nebraskans to pay for out-of-pocket.  The average cost of hospitalization in Nebraska for chest pain in the year ending June 30, 2012 was $14,037.  For cardiac arrest, the average cost of hospitalization in the Omaha area was $44,301.1   Per capita personal incomein Nebraska in 2010 was $39,557.2


  • In 2003, University of Nebraska at Omaha researchers estimated that Nebraska hospitals provided about $257 million worth of uncompensated care that was attributable to bad debt or charity care.3


  • Research done by the actuarial firm Milliman for Families USA found that while the uninsured were able to pay for about 60% of their health care costs, their uncompensated care amounted to $42.7 billion nationwide in 2008.4


  • Research done for the Kaiser Family Foundation indicated that 75% of the cost of that uncompensated care was paid from federal and state government resources.  The study estimated that providing coverage for the uninsured would result in the use of more health care services by the uninsured and would increase total health spending by 4.8%.5


  • Medicaid Expansion will primarily benefit those persons who are not currently eligible for Medicaid and who have incomes below 138% of the federal poverty level.  This means childless adults under 65, who don’t have a disability and parents with incomes between about 50% and 138% of poverty, depending upon work status.


  • The Census Bureau estimates that there are about 80,000 uninsured adults between the ages of 18 and 64 in Nebraska.  That estimate has a margin of error of about 9,000, so the number could be as low as 71,000 or as high as 90,000.6 The 18-64 age group accounts for 86% of the uninsured population in Nebraska.  About 11.5% of all Nebraskans are uninsured.


  • Massachusetts reduced its proportion of resident who were uninsured from 5.7% of its population in 2007 to 2.7% in 2009.  There was a corresponding reduction in spending on state payments for uncompensated care of 38% in the two year period.7  
    • This fact sheet is brought to you by AARP Nebraska.  For more information, contact
    • Mark Intermill at 402-323-5424 or



1 Nebraska Hospital Association PricePoint System.


2 Nebraska Department of Economic Development.


3 Li-Wu Chen, Ph.D., Michael Shambaugh-Miller, Ph.D., Wanqing Zhang, M.Ed., Liyan Xu, M.S., Brian Hesford, Anne Skinner, R.H.I.A., Roslyn Fraser-Maginn, M.A., Keith J. Mueller, Ph.D.;   The Cost of Uncompensated Health Care and the Expenditures of Self-Pay Hospital Inpatient Care;  Nebraska Center for Rural Health Care, July 2005


4 Families USA; Hidden Health Tax: Americans Pay a Premium; 2009.


5Hadley, Jack, Holahan, John, Coughlin, Teresa and Miller, Dawn for the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured; Covering the Uninsured in 2008: Key Facts about Current Costs, Sources of Payment, and Incremental Costs;  August 2008.


6 Based on an analysis of Bureau of Census; Table B27016; Health Insurance Coverage Status and Type by Ratio of Income to Poverty Level in the Past 12 Months by Age


7 Angeles, January ; How Health Reform’s Medicaid Expansion Will Impact State Budgets; Center for Budget Policy and Priorities, July 25, 2012


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