Analysis: West Virginia Second in Benefits from Obamacare


West Virginia ranks second only to New York as the state getting the best deal from Obamacare, according to a new report from the company Evolution Finance.

The report looks at what all 50 states received through the Affordable Care Act. It uses 11 metrics designed to gauge the law’s impact on consumers and each state’s budget.

States that chose to expand their Medicaid rolls under the law, such as West Virginia, benefited the most. Taxpayers in states that rejected Medicaid expansion are subsidizing health care in other states, the report says.

Here are some of the report’s top findings:

1. West Virginia receives a return of $5.11 for every $1 it spends on the ACA, according to the report, behind only Vermont in the rate of return.

2. West Virginia also had the highest percentage of people with pre-existing conditions who can no longer be denied insurance. More than 29 percent of West Virginians under 65 have such a pre-existing condition.

3. State residents are also saving more than $212 per person on uncompensated care because of Obamacare.

Uncompensated care is the cost hospitals have to pass on to other consumers because certain people cannot pay. West Virginia ranked third in that measure. It is expected to decline as a result of the ACA’s new minimum care requirements as well as the Medicaid expansion.

Govenor Earl Ray Tomblin speaks to a crowd in Charleston about Medicaid

Credit Ashton Marra
Governor Tomblin explains his decision to expand Medicaid in West Virginia during a Charleston press conference.

4. West Virginians have the most emergency room visits per capita of any state – 11 percent.

High emergency room visit rates are considered a sign of a poorly functioning health care system, as emergency patients are most commonly uninsured, low-income individuals who lack the means to pay for regular care and, therefore, only receive medical attention under dire circumstances.

Evolution Finance is a financial services company that runs personal financial websites such as Wallet Hub. It says the report “sought to cut through the rhetoric and uncertainty to provide an unbiased, non-partisan assessment of how the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act will affect each state from a purely economic standpoint, considering both the state government and individual perspectives.”