Medicaid patients with glaucoma received less testing than those with commercial health insurance, according to a study from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Researchers evaluated 21,766 individuals who were 40 years or older and newly diagnosed with open-angle glaucoma between 2007 and 2011. Of these individuals, 18,372 were covered by commercial health insurance and 3,394 were covered by Medicaid.
"Medicaid recipients were 234 percent more likely to not receive any glaucoma testing in the 15 months after initial diagnosis," the study explains.
The study also found that whites with Medicaid had a 198 percent higher chance of receiving no testing than those with commercial health insurance. In comparison, blacks with Medicaid had a 291 percent higher chance of receiving no testing compared with those with commercial health insurance.
"These findings are particularly disconcerting because blacks are more likely than whites to go blind from [open-angle glaucoma] and there are disproportionately more blacks in Medicaid," the study explains. "Efforts are needed to improve the quality of glaucoma care for Medicaid recipients, especially racial minorities."
"Irrespective of race/ethnicity, Medicaid recipients with [open-angle glaucoma] are receiving substantially less glaucoma testing compared to persons with commercial health insurance."
Robert Moffit, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, recently released a report that finds that Medicaid reduces health care access, and those recipients may receive lower quality care.
"The general findings in the professional literature are that Medicaid recipients have less access to care, and the quality of care they do get is inferior to that of private coverage," said Moffit. "So, it's no surprise when the medical outcomes are also comparatively poor."