The Affordable Care Act provides states with new opportunities to expand their Medicaid programs to increase access to affordable coverage. In states that expand coverage, most individuals under age 65 with incomes up to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($15,521 for an individual and $31,721 for a family of four) will be eligible for Medicaid coverage. To date, 26 states and D.C. have expanded their Medicaid programs.
States that have expanded Medicaid saw a much more dramatic increase in Medicaid enrollment than states that have not. According to today's report, among states that adopted the Medicaid coverage expansion and whose expansions were in effect in February, Medicaid and CHIP enrollment rose by 8.3 percent compared to the months prior to Marketplace open enrollment period. States that have not expanded Medicaid coverage reported an increase in Medicaid enrollment of 1.6 percent over the same period.
There's no deadline for states to expand, so we're going to keep working with the remaining states as they decide to come on board. Not only is expanding Medicaid coverage helping many people gain health coverage, it's a good deal for states: Coverage for newly eligible adult beneficiaries is fully federally paid for under the Affordable Care Act for the first three years, and never less than 90 percent for the years following. Expanding coverage reduces hospitals' uncompensated care, lowers "cost shifting" to businesses that see higher health insurance premiums as some of the costs of caring for the uninsured are passed on to them, and strengthens local economies.
The increase in Medicaid enrollments across the country is encouraging, but more work is left to do to ensure that the millions of uninsured Americans eligible for these programs gain coverage. Medicaid does not have a set enrollment period so people may be determined eligible for coverage at any time.
To read today's report visit: http://www.medicaid.gov/AffordableCareAct/Medicaid-Moving-Forward-2014/Downloads/February-2014-Enrollment-Report.pdf
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