Arkansas’s safety net clinics are responding to a major change in the health care environment. In 2014, approximately 250,000 low income Arkansans gained access to health care through newly available coverage options in the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace and the Arkansas Health Care Independence Program. As a result, the number of uninsured has dropped precipitously. Prior to 2014, safety net providers in the state were unsure exactly how this shift in the health care coverage landscape would impact them, their business models, and their clientele. A year later, safety net clinics across the state have had an array of experiences, and now face new and different challenges.
This issue brief provides background information on the Arkansas health care safety net and a sampling of experiences in this changing environment.