Medicaid Expansion Will Up Health Coverage

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HEALTH REFORM: Medicaid Expansion Will Up Coverage
HEALTH REFORM: Medicaid Expansion Will Up Coverage

HealthDay News -- Two aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have the potential to extend health insurance coverage to those who do not qualify for government-sponsored health care but cannot afford to purchase private plans.

The ACA will expand Medicaid coverage by basing qualification on income alone, such that people younger than 65 who earn 138% of the federal poverty rate may be covered. At this point, however, following a 2012 Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of the ACA, many states have opted out of Medicaid expansion.

People in the states that have opted out may still find the burden of health insurance cost eased by eligibility for federal subsidies toward state-based health insurance exchanges, as will people who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to purchase insurance. People in states not expanding Medicaid whose incomes fall below the federal poverty limit, however, will not be eligible for coverage through the exchanges.

"There will be a lot of people who will be left out," Cindy Zeldin, executive director of Georgians for a Healthy Future, told HealthDay. "But it's still worth applying for coverage. We would encourage people to go and see if they're eligible for exchange coverage."

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