You are here:HomeIssuesHealth Care Reform2014Millions Trapped in Healthcare Law Coverage Gap

Millions Trapped in Healthcare Law Coverage Gap

As a result of discrepancies in state and federal rules, some individuals do not make enough money to qualify for federal subsidies to purchase health insurance or for Medicaid, and as a result, their coverage would cost roughly what they earn...
February 12, 2014

As a result of discrepancies in state and federal rules, some individuals do not make enough money to qualify for federal subsidies to purchase health insurance or for Medicaid, and as a result, their coverage would cost roughly what they earn. The Wall Street Journal reports that, generally, lower-income people in half the states that opted not to expand Medicaid receive no help, while better-off workers in other states can obtain insurance with taxpayer-funded subsidies. The decision not to expand Medicaid coverage by some states also eliminates the payments hospitals had received to cover the cost of uninsured people they treat for free.

The 2010 health law was meant to cover people in a lower income bracket by expanding Medicaid to workers earning up to the federal poverty line — about $11,670 for a single person; more for families. People earning as much as four times the poverty line — $46,680 for a single person — can receive federal subsidies.

But the Supreme Court in 2012 struck down the law’s requirement that states expand their Medicaid coverage. Then Republican elected officials in 24 states declined the expansion, triggering a coverage gap for those at the lowest income levels who don’t qualify for Medicaid coverage under varying state rules. The upshot is that lower-income people in half the states get no help, while better-off workers elsewhere can buy insurance with subsidies.

Millions Trapped in Health-Law Coverage Gap (Wall Street Journal 2/10/14)

Filed under: