Nearly 98 percent of Massachusetts' 400,000 residents now have coverage—either through individual purchase or expanded Medicaid coverage for children and low-income residents. And while the reform was initially met with controversy, it has gained popularity in the past 5 years.
"The annual Massachusetts Health Reform Survey shows that approximately two-thirds of Massachusetts residents support the reform," said lead author Philip Van der Wees, Ph.D. of the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center in The Netherlands.
Researchers used data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to compare the health status and use of preventive health services of Massachusetts residents with residents of other New England states. The study, which ran from 2001 to 2011, included more than 345,000 adults.
Residents in Massachusetts reported they had overall increases in their general health (1.7 percent increase), physical health (1.3 percent increase), and mental health (1.5 percent) since 2006. There were also increases in the use of preventive health services such as Pap screening (2.3 percent), colonoscopy (5.5 percent), and cholesterol testing (1.4 percent), particularly among low-income households.
With the increased use in preventive health services, Van der Wees said, the health of residents who were previously uninsured and who gained Medicare insurance will continue to improve over time.