Medicaid Users in Especially Poor Health Relative to Other Americans

Poor lifestyle choices create higher costs


WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. adults whose primary health insurance source is Medicaid are in significantly worse health than are adults who get their coverage from an employer or union. More than three in 10 adults on Medicaid are obese, and more than two in 10 say they are being treated for depression (22%) and high blood pressure (24%). Medicaid recipients also struggle disproportionately with asthma and diabetes.

In addition to Medicaid recipients, those who primarily rely on Medicare for health insurance also have poor health in many respects, which is due to the generally older age of Medicare recipients. Specifically, those on Medicare are by far the most likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and to have had a heart attack.

These data are based on more than 28,000 interviews conducted as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index with adults aged 18 and older from Jan. 3-March 1, 2013.