New Jersey residents may be interested to learn that in a recent development, the states that opted for Medicaid expansions during the Obama administration may have more leniency over which residents can be included under their programs. Medicaid expansions used to be an all-or-nothing arrangement. States choosing to expand Medicaid were required to provide coverage to those who earned up to 138 percent of the poverty level set by the federal government. However, the Trump administration is considering whether to permit two states to provide coverage solely to individuals whose earnings match or are less than the poverty line. This might encourage states that have not yet expanded Medicaid to do so.
Whether such a change will be allowed may be dependent on whether the request for the change is coming from a state trying to reduce its Medicaid coverage or a state that is trying to establish a partial expansion of its Medicaid coverage. Medicaid officials are in favor of allowing states to be flexible with regard to the administration of their Medicaid programs, and they have been critical of states providing Medicaid to individuals who are healthy enough to be able to work. It is reported that, if these changes are made, almost 7 million individuals in those states that did not expand Medicaid during the Obama administration could be eligible for Medicaid.
However, limited expansion could make things very difficult to those who earn just above the poverty level. These individuals might not be eligible for Medicaid, but they may also have trouble affording health insurance, even if it is subsidized.
In the end, those who rely on Medicaid are often dependent on the program to afford their medical care, including a nursing home stay. Any changes to Medicaid on the federal or state level should be carefully watched, as it could affect many people. Those who want to learn more about Medicaid planning in New Jersey may want to seek legal advice to better understand their situation.
Source: bna.com, “Medicaid Could Soon Allow Partial State Expansions,” Victoria Pelham, Nov. 22, 2017