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Heflin study on SNAP size and timing and emergency claims among Medicaid enrollees published

Oct 31, 2018

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Size and Timing and Hypertension-Related Emergency Department Claims Among Medicaid Enrollees

Chinedum Ojinnaka & Colleen Heflin

Journal of the American Society of Hypertension, October 2018

Colleen Heflin

Colleen Heflin

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a public policy program that aims to reduce food insecurity—a social determinant of health that has been associated with suboptimal blood pressure control in the United States. The aim of the article was to explore the association between SNAP benefit timing and size and probability of hypertension-related emergency department (ED) claims.

This study used the SNAP data from the Missouri's Department of Social Services for January 2010 to December 2013 linked to Medicaid ED claims data. The dependent variable was probability of hypertension-related and hypertensive emergency ED claims. The independent variables of interest were week of calendar and SNAP benefit months and SNAP benefit amount. Probit regression analyses were conducted. Average marginal effects are reported.In a sample of 6,013,951 Medicaid-insured SNAP beneficiaries, 11,709 hypertension-related claims were submitted for every 100,000 claims. The average marginal effect of SNAP benefit amount on hypertension-related ED claims was −0.0000638 (P < .001); thus, a $100 increase in SNAP benefits will reduce hypertension-related claims by 638 claims per 100,000 claim. The reduction in ED claims was higher for lower SNAP benefit amounts than at higher SNAP benefit amounts. There was no statistically significant association between week of calendar month in which SNAP benefit was received and probability of hypertension-related ED claims. Higher SNAP benefit amount was associated with a decreased probability of hypertension-related ED claims. The impact of an additional dollar of SNAP benefits was larger at lower SNAP benefit amounts.

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