There are only 14 states in the U.S. that have not expanded Medicaid insurance coverage for its residents, and Missouri is one of them. If Medicaid were expanded to include nonelderly adults with incomes at 138 percent of the federal poverty guidelines – which is only $17,236 a year – Kaiser Family Foundation reports that 219,000 uninsured nonelderly adults in Missouri would become eligible for the health insurance coverage. That’s 47 percent or nearly half of the state’s nonelderly adult population.
Nationwide, it estimated that 4.4 million uninsured nonelderly adults would become eligible for Medicaid health coverage if the 14 holdout states opted to expand their programs.
Medicaid is a federally funded health insurance program operated by each state. Current eligibility for MO HealthNet, Missouri’s Medicaid program, is mainly limited to children, pregnant women, elderly adults, and persons with disabilities in families with low income and limited resources. Kaiser Family Foundation said 71 percent of persons who would become eligible for Medicaid if Missouri approved expansion would be childless adults – a group historically excluded from being eligible for Medicaid.
And where do these uninsured, nonelderly adults live? In Missouri, they live all over – with heaviest concentrations in deep rural areas. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (signed into law nine years ago), funds nearly all expanded coverage for Medicaid-eligible individuals. The federal government pays for 90 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion to the states’ 10 percent, where under traditional Medicaid the federal share of the cost is currently 66 percent to the states’ 34 percent.
Kaiser Family Foundation data says 6 in 10 Missouri uninsured adults live below the federal poverty line (57 percent); over 7 in 10 have at least one worker in the family (57 percent full time and 20 percent part-time only); almost 4 in 10 are middle aged and more than 7 in 10 are white, non-Hispanic.
Kaiser Family Foundation reviewed over 200 research studies that show expanding Medicaid is associated with greater access to and improved affordability of health care, reduced medical debt and decrease in uncompensated care costs.
For an interactive map and additional data about uninsured adults, visit Kaiser Family Foundation at https://tinyurl.com/would-be-eligible.
For more information about MO HealthNet, Missouri’s Medicaid program, visit https://mydss.mo.gov/healthcare.