As the Supreme Court hears oral arguments over the challenge to the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, states are preparing to implement the 2014 Medicaid expansion the law requires.
Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often known as simply the Affordable Care Act, an estimated 16 million more Americans will become eligible for Medicaid coverage beginning on January 1, 2014. Under current Medicaid regulations, patients eligible to receive coverage under the health care safety net typically only include low income parents with children, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
Under the new rules, coverage will expand based on individual and family income levels. The expanded coverage will apply to anyone who earns a household income that is up to 133% of the federally determined poverty level. This means that a person who has an individual income of less than about $15,000, or families of four with family income of less than about $31,000, will be eligible for Medicaid coverage.
The legal challenge currently being heard by the Supreme Court may end up changing this requirement. However, it is unclear if the challenge is likely to succeed, though the court is expected to issue its final ruling in the summer of 2012.
Until then, several states have already expanded their Medicaid coverage provisions to include the new requirements, though all states are not required to do so until the January 2014 deadline.