After a lengthy approval process, Pennsylvania has at last secured the okay to expand its Medicaid program. The program will allocate federal funds to allow low-income individuals to obtain coverage from commerical insurance companies, with some beneficiaries contributing up to 2 percent of their income toward premiums.
Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, issued the following statement today after Pennsylvania agreed to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act:
“With the agreements announced today, Pennsylvania will become the 28th state, including the District of Columbia, to adopt the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, helping approximately 500,000 Pennsylvanians get the health care coverage they need,” said Administrator Tavenner. “Like we are doing in Pennsylvania, HHS and CMS are committed to supporting state flexibility and working with states on innovative solutions that work within the confines of the law to expand Medicaid to low-income individuals. But, unfortunately, millions of Americans are still without Medicaid coverage because their state has yet to act.”
Medicaid expansion opens up eligibility to more low-income individuals with the federal government picking up much of the cost. Providers nationwide are already seeing an uptick in Medicaid-covered patients.
By expanding Medicaid, Pennsylvania increases the income level for enrollment to 138% of federal poverty level and at the same time expands the types of populations eligible for coverage. Until now, only parents of dependent children with a household income below 38% of federal poverty level were eligible. Like other states that have expanded, Pennsylvania's growth will come from childless adults, those at the higher end of the eligibility-income scale and those who were previously eligible but did not enroll.
In 2012, Pennsylvania Medicaid spending reached $20,393,353,134, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.