Yesterday Governor Steve Beshear announced Kentucky’s decision to expand Medicaid. Â A link to the article in the Courier-Journal is below:
Figures from the 2012 U.S. Census Bureau tells us that 308,000 Kentuckians will now be eligible for this coverage. Â The next step is for these newly eligible citizens is to enroll. Â 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. Â Some citizens don’t even know that they’re eligible for “free” coverage. Â 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. Â Hopefully that will be removed.
Let’s also hope that these newly enrolled citizens will start using their insurance. Â One problem that uninsured people encounter is that they wait to get their healthcare. Â By waiting, they’re more likely to seek service in the Emergency Room, which is the most costly place to seek service. Â Now that they have Medicaid, hopefully they will seek preventive care and stay out of the Emergency Room. Â Opponents have said this will flood doctor’s offices. Â 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. Â Under this Expansion, a single person making up to $15,856 annually, will be eligible for Medicaid. Â This is just a tick above the minimum wage level (assuming a 40 hour work week). Â 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. Â These newly eligible citizens maybe considered a Â “Qualified Waivers” to an Employer Sponsored Plan. Â A Qualified Waiver is someone that has coverage elsewhere under another insurance plan. Â An example would be someone today being covered under their spouse’s plan. Â 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. Â I know, it’s confusing. Â 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. Â How many new Medicaid recipients make this amount of money and work 30+ hours for one employer?