A new University of Michigan study says that states that choose to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to millions of uninsured adults may see an increase in younger people qualify for the coverage. Potential new enrollees are also generally healthier than the current Medicaid population, with less prevalence of obesity and depression - but they are more likely to be smokers and heavy drinkers. The new group of potential Medicaid beneficiaries may also cost less than what lawmakers projected, according to the study that appears in Annals of Family Medicine. "There has been a lot of debate about how expensive the Medicaid expansion would be and until now, it hadn't been clear which Americans had the potential to benefit from the added healthcare coverage in states that participate," says lead author Tammy Chang, M.D., MPH, MS, an assistant professor in the department of family medicine at the U-M Medical School and an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program. "One of the main concerns has been that current beneficiaries have high healthcare costs and whether people with new Medicaid coverage would be just like people on Medicaid today. It turns out they look a lot different from the population that currently qualifies." According to the nationally representative study, patients who will gain Medicaid under expansion programs supported by the ACA will be younger (average age of 36 versus 38), with a larger proportion being male (49 percent versus 33 percent) and white (60 percent versus 50 percent) compared to the current Medicaid population. The new potential group is also similarly healthy as - if not healthier than - the current Medicaid population, possibly even having lower prevalence of some chronic diseases such as obesity and depression. However there are two exceptions - almost half of people potentially eligible for expanded Medicaid are current smokers and over one-third are moderate or heavy alcohol drinkers - significantly higher than current beneficiaries. "Based on our analysis, Medicaid expansion represents a key opportunity to improve the health of millions of uninsured individuals and reduce national costs associated with smoking and excessive alcohol use," Chang says. "Coverage for these Americans may be coming at just the right time to provide access to healthcare that can help keep these Americans healthy through prevention and improving healthy behaviors."Additional Authors: Matthew Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P., Michigan's chief medical executive associate professor of Pediatrics and associate professor of Internal Medicine at the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and U-M Medical School, and associate professor of Public Policy at U-M's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Source: Newswise << The Way Artificial Limbs Replace the Function of Lost Arms ... Study Reports on Link Between Testicle Size and Parenting >> Recommended Reading Customer Care in Health Insurance Industry Health Insurance Industry is a service-oriented industry with customer satisfaction and customer grievances being important components of its business operations. Both the issues - Customer satisfaction and Customer Grievances have been described in ... READ MORE Employee State Insurance Corporation The full-form for the abbreviation ESIC is Employees' State Insurance Corporation. The ESIC (Employees'' State Insurance Corporation) Act was enacted by the Indian Parliament in 1948. READ MORE Fraudulent Health Insurance Claims To educate the public regarding hazards of committing fraud in healthcare insurance claims and its implication on the economy. READ MORE Health Insurance For Pre-Existing Conditions Many people worry about getting health insurance plans for pre-existing conditions and they believe that if they are suffering from a medical condition, they will simply be denied insurance coverage. READ MORE What is Medicare / Medicaid? Medicaid / Medicare are different governmental programs that provide medical and health-related services to specific groups of people in U.S. and managed by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. READ MORE Most Popular on Medindia A-Z Drug Brands in India Find a Hospital Selfie Addiction Calculator More News on: What is Medicare / Medicaid?