Did Arkansas accept the Medicaid Expansion?

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Implementing the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion in Arkansas and other states in the nation has the possibility to increase health care assistance by introducing new rules and regulations. The ACA Medicaid expansion includes additional policies that states may adopt to extend health care coverage to more potential recipients. The expansion of Medicaid is often called Obamacare. The Obamacare Medicaid expansion details only affects the program if the state approved the new rules. The new Affordable Care Act Medicaid eligibility widens coverage beyond the usual groups such as pregnant women, minors, the elderly, disabled and others. ACA Medicaid eligibility in AR opens the door for thousands of petitioners who might not have coverage otherwise. Continue reading to find out what is the expansion of Medicaid and how the ACA Medicaid expansion cost to states influenced Arkansas lawmakers’ decision.

ACA Medicaid Expansion in Arkansas

The Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion in Arkansas is unique, as only select states have implemented the expansion in the same manner. The new eligibility requirements of the Affordable Care Act Medicaid application makes it more likely for adults without disabilities or children or who are pregnant to get medical care. The AR ACA Medicaid expansion allows low-income residents to get crucial medical insurance that covers many different services. Prior to the expansion, eligibility requirements for Medicaid considered income but limited coverage to those who also had a qualifying health condition or were minors. Arkansas was approved for Medicaid expansion waivers that allowed the state to provide qualified residents with health care assistance that coordinates with work requirements. The specialized ACA Medicaid expansion in AR is called Arkansas Works. While this does not change the Medicaid application process, it does change who qualifies for coverage. 

The benefits of Medicaid expansion go beyond the new potential beneficiaries who may find coverage. For example, due to the influx of new patients, the Arkansas medical industry has added new jobs. By some estimates, more than 240,000 well-paying jobs were added across the country since 2012.

For comprehensive information about eligibility requirements to enroll in Medicaid, read our free guide.

What does opting into the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion mean for Arkansas?

For potential recipients, adopting the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion in Arkansas did not change the Medicaid application process to obtain care. Affordable Care Act Medicaid eligibility changed in regards to who is potentially able to get help. Previously, only groups such as minors, parents of minors, pregnant women, the elderly or the disabled could qualify for assistance. Low-income adults who did not meet those requirements were not eligible for the program. However, opting into the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion made it possible for such AR residents to qualify if they meet income and other requirements.

What is the Obamacare Medicaid expansion? Implementing the Obamacare Medicaid expansion means thousands of potential recipients may now get health insurance and seek out services such as doctor visits, laboratory tests and more. However, the expansion of Medicaid does not guarantee coverage for everyone. Resources are limited and the application process may still deny Medicaid coverage to some applicants. While the state implements the Medicaid expansion guidelines, Arkansas provides coverage in a slightly different way than other states that accepted the ACA expansion of Medicaid.

An essential part of the ACA expansion of Medicaid includes financial relief for states to cover the cost the new medical care. The ACA Medicaid expansion cost to states requires more funds to cover the higher number of enrollees. Initially, the U.S. government provides 100 percent of the funds for the Medicaid expansion at the start. However, as of 2016, states pay a small portion (10 percent) of the cost for expansion.

Will Arkansas further expand its Medicaid program?

Arkansas is one of many states that implemented the ACA Medicaid expansion rules and regulations to expand coverage to eligible residents. The state continues to make changes to Medicaid under the Arkansas Works program. In addition to the current Obamacare Medicaid expansion implemented in AR, the state has proposed capping income eligibility, which would reduce the number of eligible applicants. However, any changes made to the Medicaid program in Arkansas cannot be made to the federally mandated services and covered groups.

Note: Additional programs in Arkansas include the Provider-led Arkansas Shared Savings Entity (PASSE). PASSE addresses the needs of specific Medicaid recipients such as those with complex behavioral health and intellectual and developmental disabilities service needs.

Download our in-depth guide to apply for Medicaid coverage successfully.