Medicaid beneficiaries likely to get coverage in some state exchange marketplaces
Medicaid beneficiaries appear increasingly likely to participate in health benefit exchanges in at least some states in 2014. Two Medicaid-eligible populations may end up getting commercial health insurance via the exchanges: those whose incomes fluctuate above and below Medicaid eligibility levels and those residing in states that have opted not to expand the Medicaid eligibility cutoff to 133 percent of federal poverty guidelines. Both scenarios require waivers from the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The first group would be offered exchange products called Medicaid bridge plans authorized under guidance issued by CMS on December 10, 2012. This is the so-called “Tennessee Plan” since that state originated the concept and is designed to ensure continuity of medical care of Medicaid beneficiaries so they don’t have to change plans and providers as their incomes rise and fall.
The second population would participate in the exchange marketplace under the so-called “Arkansas Plan” in states that have not chosen to expand Medicaid eligibility to those earning up to 133 percent of federal poverty as authorized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
In California, legislation that would expand that state’s Medicaid eligibility has failed to advance for nearly two months amid state fiscal concerns over the long term cost share impact and to what extent counties should participate in the cost share. Legislation authorizing Medicaid bridge plan products for those earning up to 200 percent of federal poverty, SBX1-3, has passed the Senate and awaits action in the state Assembly.