The State of Medicaid: Part 1

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The State of Medicaid: Part 1
Did my state expand Medicaid? What does “expand Medicaid” even mean?

This will be a two-part series in which I discuss 1) what Medicaid expansion is and
2) what to do if you’re eligible for Medicaid but your state didn’t expand Medicaid!

Medicaid expansion CRC Capital Group, Inc.

Story time!
The first time I experimented with the Marketplace, the results were clear: I should be on Medicaid.

At this time last year, I was a college student, working (3!) part-time jobs, barely affording rent. My mother began her own college career last year, and while I could not possibly be prouder, her switch from government employee to fellow broke student left me uninsured.

So to the Marketplace I went.

I diligently filled in all my information, and eagerly awaited my results.

And those results revealed that I should receive coverage through Medicaid. Since I had previous experience and knowledge of Medicaid, I was pretty excited! I assumed that all my stressing about “How am I gonna afford insurance AND rent AND tuition AND new ankle boots?” was happily for nothing.

HOWEVER I kept reading my results—turns out South Dakota didn’t expand Medicaid. Since I make an effort to be an informed citizen, I knew what this meant, and I knew it meant that I would in fact NOT be receiving less expensive insurance (see ya later, Jeffrey Campbell O’Riley boots**).

Underneath that tasty tidbit was a complicated and dry explanation of the next steps available to me due to my state’s failure to expand—but I’ll get to that in next week’s post!

Okay, now for the real information:
“What is Medicaid?” you might ask. Like most other legal things, it’s complicated. A quick Google search will tell us what we need to know, in laymen’s terms: Medicaid “is a jointly funded, Federal-State health insurance program for low-income and needy people.”

And “What is Medicaid expansion?” you’ll probably wonder next. Basically, if your state expanded Medicaid, it means that the ACA provided your state with additional federal funding for Medicaid. With this Medicaid expansion, your state’s Medicaid program now can cover more people that had previously not qualified for Medicaid. Another notable thing about the ACA’s Medicaid expansion is that it allowed for Medicaid eligibility of non-elderly adults and established a national income eligibility threshold.

Since the ACA, if you’re a 22 year-old who makes less than 138% of the FPL, you qualify for Medicaid!

But if you live in South Dakota (or one of the other 24 states that didn’t expand Medicaid) and you had previously been denied Medicaid, you still won’t be covered. This is because in 2012 the Supreme Court ruled that Medicaid expansion was optional for all states.

Ergo, I was all Medicaid-eligible with no place to go.

Okay, so what do I do?
In part 2 of this “State of Medicaid” series, I’ll talk about what to do if you’re eligible for Medicaid but your state didn’t expand its Medicaid program!

**For your shopping convenience, I’ve taken the liberty of adding these to my Amazon wishlist.

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