Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Commonwealth Fund Finds Both 'Private Option' and Traditional Medicaid Expansions Improved Access to Care
Low-income adults in Kentucky and Arkansas, which both expanded Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act, were more likely to be insured and less likely to have problems paying medical bills or affording prescriptions than low-income adults in Texas, which did not expand Medicaid.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) gives states the option to expand Medicaid eligibility to all adults with incomes under 138 percent of the federal poverty level (about $16,000 for an individual or $33,000 for a family of four). So far, 30 states and the District of Columbia have chosen to do so. Most have taken a traditional approach to expanding Medicaid, but several have elected the “private option”—using Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance through the federal and state marketplaces. This Commonwealth Fund–supported article in Health Affairs examines the experiences of low-income adults during the first year of the ACA Medicaid expansion in three states that adopted different strategies: Kentucky, which expanded traditional Medicaid coverage; Arkansas, which used the private option; and Texas, which did not expand Medicaid.. . .