Kentucky Expands Medicaid

Yesterday Governor Steve Beshear announced Kentucky’s decision to expand Medicaid.  A link to the article in the Courier-Journal is below:

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20130509/PRIME07/305090046

Figures from the 2012 U.S. Census Bureau tells us that 308,000 Kentuckians will now be eligible for this coverage.  The next step is for these newly eligible citizens is to enroll.  The National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) have always touted that many uninsured citizens could obtain coverage if they were to sign up for it.  Some citizens don’t even know that they’re eligible for “free” coverage.  Hopefully this will change.

Another point to keep in mind with this expansion is that hopefully Employer Based premiums will be lowered because these premiums have a “tax” included that helps offset the bills for the uninsured.  Hopefully that will be removed.

Let’s also hope that these newly enrolled citizens will start using their insurance.  One problem that uninsured people encounter is that they wait to get their healthcare.  By waiting, they’re more likely to seek service in the Emergency Room, which is the most costly place to seek service.  Now that they have Medicaid, hopefully they will seek preventive care and stay out of the Emergency Room.  Opponents have said this will flood doctor’s offices.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

The last point I’d like to cover is what kind of impact will this have on Employers.  Under this Expansion, a single person making up to $15,856 annually, will be eligible for Medicaid.  This is just a tick above the minimum wage level (assuming a 40 hour work week).  Something that I’d like to know is how many Kentuckians with full-time employment (under the new law that’s over 30 hours per week) would qualify for Medicaid.  These newly eligible citizens maybe considered a  “Qualified Waivers” to an Employer Sponsored Plan.  A Qualified Waiver is someone that has coverage elsewhere under another insurance plan.  An example would be someone today being covered under their spouse’s plan.  The employer doesn’t have to cover that spouse, and the employer isn’t harmed in their participation percentage with their health insurance company because the employee is covered under a spouse’s plan.  I know, it’s confusing.  The point is (and I’m still waiting for insurance companies to verify this, although today this is accurate) that these newly Medicaid eligible recipients will now be considered a qualified waiver in an employer sponsored plan.  How many new Medicaid recipients make this amount of money and work 30+ hours for one employer?

 

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