This study estimates the effect of universal coverage on the use and cost of health services by the uninsured. Adults lacking insurance for a full year have about 60 percent as many ambulatory contacts and about 70 percent of the inpatient hospital days they would have if they were covered by insurance. This "access gap" is only slightly smaller for children. Providing universal coverage would increase ambulatory contacts and inpatient days by less than 4 percent a year. The dollar cost of these new services is estimated to be $19.9 billion--a 2 percent increase in total health spending.
Originally published in: Health Affairs, Spring, 1994, pp. 211-220.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.