The Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion was first introduced as optional in the early 2010s to all 50 states including Kansas. Each state could elect to be part of the ACA Medicaid expansion, but was not required to include the new guidelines. What is the expansion of Medicaid and how will it affect Kansas? The Obamacare Medicaid expansion details are a bit complicated but the general mission is to keep millions of low-income Americans in good health by changing the Medicaid program requirements to allow more people to be in the program. The Affordable Care Act Medicaid eligibility requirements are much less restrictive, using income as the only factor used to determine an applicant’s eligibility. While some Medicaid expanding states have slightly different income standards, applicants will be accepted into the program if they earn up to a certain percentage of the federal poverty line. The Obamacare expansion will also allow adults who were in the foster care system as children to be enrolled in Medicaid until they turn 26 years of age. If you are wondering, “What is the Obamacare Medicaid expansion and is Kansas expanding Medicaid?” make sure to read all the information in the sections below.
Learn About the ACA Medicaid Expansion in Kansas
While the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid in Kansas has the potential to help many people, it is not a free program. The ACA Medicaid expansion cost to states can be quite large with some states having to spend billions of dollars to keep the expansion functioning. The expansion does provide each state with a large amount of federal funds but it does not completely finance all Medicaid costs for coverage of the expanded eligible population. Due to the expense, the federal government made the ACA Medicaid expansion optional.
In the last few years, every state in the nation has made a decision about whether to accept the ACA Medicaid expansion plan including Kansas. Thus far, 31 states and Washington D.C. have accepted the expansion. However, Kansas lawmakers did not accept the Affordable Care Act expansion to Medicaid. Kansas officials have long debated the benefits and drawbacks of the Kansas Medicaid expansion before deciding against it. The Affordable Care Act expansion cost is the main reason why Kansas government officials voted against installing the expansion plan in the state.
Learn about the health care services covered by Medicaid by reading our comprehensive guide.
What does opting out of the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion mean for Kansas?
Since Kansas denied the ACA Medicaid expansion, the eligibility requirements for the program remain the same. Kansas Medicaid eligibility mainly serves those who are elderly or have a disability. Pregnant women, families and children who do not have a disability may have a request for Medicaid benefits denied. Instead, these applicants will be a part of a different medical benefits program that is not a part of Medicaid. Please be aware that both programs are referred to as KanCare locally, although only the KanCare program for the elderly or disabled is a Medicaid. The KanCare application for Medicaid will be slightly different than the KanCare application for families and children.
In states that have enacted the ACA expansion of Medicaid, the eligibility requirements for the program are changed. Those filling out the Affordable Care Act Medicaid application in other areas will be accepted if their income is equal to or less than 133 percent of the federal poverty line. No other factor other than income will be looked at to determine Medicaid eligibility.
Will Kansas ever expand its Medicaid program?
There is a chance that the Kansas Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion could be signed into law eventually. A majority of legislators do not want to impose the ACA Medicaid expansion cost to the state so it does not seem likely that the expansion will come to Kansas. Those who qualify for under the existing Medicaid program are more than welcome to apply for Medicaid benefits.
Take Note: In the event an applicant is not eligible to receive Medicaid benefits in Kansas, he or she can still apply for other assistance benefits programs. Other medical benefits options are available that are not a part of the Medicaid program. Low-income families that cannot qualify for Kansas Medicaid will be able to apply for other health benefits programs.
Find out how to submit a Medicaid request for health care assistance by reviewing the comprehensive information in our free guide