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Childless adults biggest winners under Medicaid expansion

Many previously had not qualified for employer-based coverage

Medicaid expansion has been particularly beneficial to low-income adults without children, many of whom had not been previously able to obtain coverage through their employers, Families USA wrote in its Health Reform 2.0 report.

Historically, adults without children have been excluded from Medicaid, noted the advocacy group. "Many of these people cannot get job-based coverage, either because it is not offered to them or because it is too expensive." 

Under the Affordable Care Act, states had the option of expanding Medicaid eligibility levels for adults to at least 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). So far, 27 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid, and several more states, including some with Republican leadership, are considering Medicaid expansion, FierceHealthPayer previously reported. In its report, Families USA called for the expansion of Medicaid to all states.

In those expansion states--along with Wisconsin, which did not expand Medicaid as a whole but did offer it to childless adults--childless adults who earn less than $16,105 annually now qualify for Medicaid, noted the latest Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) survey of Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) eligibility, enrollment, renewal and cost-sharing policies. In non-expansion states, they do not qualify at all.

Medicaid coverage for children and pregnant women remains high across the board, according to KFF. CHIP covers children at or above 200 percent of the FPL in all but two states, with 19 of those states covering them at or above 300 percent, according to the report. In addition to making more children eligible for the program, 33 states have eliminate the waiting period when a child must be without group coverage before enrolling.

The ACA protects the coverage for children until 2019--though without Congressional action, funding for CHIP will expire in September, causing some children to face higher premiums and others to lose coverage altogether, the report stated.

To learn more:
read the Kaiser Family Foundation report
check out Families USA's Health Reform 2.0 report (.pdf)

Related Articles:
Medicaid expansion roundup: Where are all the states now?
Texas and Florida remain wary to expand Medicaid
After momentum surge, Medicaid expansion may contract
Push is on to expand Medicaid in Kansas, Wyoming