People who obtained health coverage through the Affordable Care Act were sicker and their cost of care more than those who had insurance before the federal law took effect, according to a report from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

The study’s findings, based on data from Blue Cross organizations nationwide, show that new enrollees in Blue individual plans in 2014 and 2015:

  • Have higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, coronary artery disease, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Hepatitis C than those who already had Blue Cross individual coverage.
  • Received significantly more medical services in their first year of coverage, on average, than those who had Blue Cross individual plans before 2014 and kept it into 2015.
  • Had medical costs that averaged 19 percent more than employer-based group members in 2014 and 22 percent higher in 2015. The average monthly medical spending was $559 for individual enrollees versus $457 for employer-based group members in 2015.