Coverage and Access for Americans with Cardiovascular Disease or Risk Factors After the ACA: a Quasi-experimental Study

  • Ameen BarghiEmail author
  • H. Torres
  • N. R. Kressin
  • D. McCormick



Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the USA. Many with CVD or cardiovascular risk factors (CVRFs) lacked insurance coverage and access to care before enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).


To assess the effect of the ACA on insurance coverage, access to care, and racial/ethnic disparities among non-elderly adults with CVD or CVRFs.


Quasi-experimental policy intervention.


Nationally representative, non-institutionalized sample of 1,014,450 adults aged 18 to 64 years with CVD or at least 2 established CVRFs in the pre-ACA (2012–2013) and post-ACA (2015–2016) periods.


Implementation of ACA provisions on 1 January 2014.

Main Measures

Insurance coverage, having a check-up, having a personal physician, and not having to forgo a needed physician visit because of cost.

Key Results

Following ACA implementation, insurance coverage increased by 6.9 percentage points (95% CI, 6.6 to 7.2), not having to forgo a physician visit increased by 3.6 percentage points (CI, 3.3 to 3.9), having a check-up increased by 2.1 percentage points (CI, 1.8 to 2.6), and having a personal physician increased by 1 percentage point (0.6 to 1.3); changes were approximately doubled for those with lower incomes (< $35,000/year). Changes in coverage varied substantially by state and all outcomes improved more in Medicaid expansion states. Although racial/ethnic minorities had greater improvements in some outcomes, approximately 13% black and 29% Hispanic adults continued to lack coverage and access to care post-ACA.


The ACA increased coverage and access for adults with CVD or multiple CVRFs; substantial gaps remain, particularly for minorities and those in Medicaid non-expansion states.


cardiovascular Affordable Care Act insurance health care minority 


Author Contributions

All authors contributed to the project design, data analysis, and manuscript write-up processes.


This study received financial support from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NIH), grant number 1U01HL105342-01 (Drs. Kressin and McCormick).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11606_2019_5108_MOESM1_ESM.docx (34 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 34.2 kb)


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ameen Barghi
    • 1
    Email author
  • H. Torres
    • 2
  • N. R. Kressin
    • 3
    • 4
  • D. McCormick
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Cambridge Health AllianceHarvard Medical SchoolCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.VA Boston Healthcare SystemBostonUSA
  4. 4.Department of General Internal MedicineBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA

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