There’s so much to understand about the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare.) Today we’re just going to focus on one section: Medicaid Expansion.
What is Medicaid Expansion
Medicaid expansion means that people under certain income limits — which you can find on Single Moms Income — will qualify for free health insurance.
Right now different states have different rules on who qualifies for Medicaid. The goal with this aspect of the ACA was to make it an across the board thing in order to work with other aspects of the plan.
However, the federal government was only going to supply the funds for this expansion for a couple of years after which time states would have to take over a major part of the bill, so the Supreme Court decided that each state had a right to decide if they were going to implement the expansion and accept the funds or not.
Right now, this is where the states stand:
If you’re living in a state that’s accepting it (or in dark blue,) you’re good. Apply for Medicaid because you’ll get it if you’re below those income limits. If you’re in a dark red state, however, don’t expect much to change for you.
When Medicaid Expansion Isn’t Available in Your State
States that aren’t accepting the expansion with continue on with the status quo, so if you weren’t eligible before Obamacare, you probably won’t be now. You won’t have insurance.
Then there’s those periwinkle states that are considering an alternative. Pennsylvania was initially one of them. These states have said they won’t expand Medicaid the way the Federal government wants them to. But they will restructure it another way and still accept the federal money.
For example, Governor Corbett of Pennsylvania proposed a plan where Medicaid recipients would pay $25/mo to get Medicaid — which would have actually been plans provided by private insurers. They would not have to pay co-pays when they go to the doctor. That was supposed to inspire participants to cut back on ER trips.
This was going to be better than nothing. But when Governor Wolf was elected he instated Medicaid Expansion in full, giving a better, lower-cost option to Pennsylvanians who previously didn’t have access to healthcare.
Where does my state stand?
To find out if your state has fully adopted Medicaid Expansion, you can check out this map. It was updated in March of 2020. Much of the southeast and swaths of the midwest have yet to adopt Medicaid Expansion. Nebraska has adopted but not yet implemented it.