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Insight & Analysis / Expanding Medicaid and Workforce Supply

States deciding whether to implement the Medicaid expansions authorized by the Affordable Care Act are weighing many factors, including workforce capacity. In “A Half-Million Newly Insured: Is Colorado Ready?”, CHI asked how many primary care providers would be needed to care for the newly insured in Colorado.  CHI’s analysis found that Colorado would need an additional 83 to 141 primary care providers (physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants) to care for those newly insured under both public insurance (Medicaid/CHP+) and private insurance.

Whether providers accept Medicaid presents another supply hurdle. Using provider-reported data from the MedicalQuest database administered by Peregrine Management Corporation, CHI estimates that approximately 65-70 percent of all nurse practitioners, physicians and physicians assistants licensed in Colorado accept Medicaid. Although Medicaid limits oral health benefits to beneficiaries ages 20 or under, fewer than 28 percent of dentists and registered dental hygienists licensed in Colorado accept Medicaid.

Colorado may already be challenged to meet demand for health care services among Medicaid beneficiaries. Increasing that demand through expanded Medicaid eligibility creates additional pressure on the current supply but it also provides opportunities for Colorado to make Medicaid a more attractive option for health care providers, especially oral health providers. 

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