Kaiser Report Finds More Than 5 Million Will Fall Into Coverage Gap Created by States Failing to Expand Medicaid

By Cathy Hope, Georgetown University Center for Children and Families

There’s been a lot of attention to the technical issues that have plagued healthcare.gov and other health insurance marketplace websites. Those issues are serious, but they should be resolved shortly. In contrast, a new report out from the Kaiser Family Foundation demonstrates a far larger, and more long-term problem for the uninsured: the failure of many states to expand Medicaid.

A federally funded Medicaid option for more uninsured adults is an important cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act, however, an estimated 5,161,820 uninsured individuals will be left behind because they live in states that have not yet accepted the Medicaid expansion option.  Those who fall into the gap earn too much to qualify under their state’s limited Medicaid eligibility guidelines and too little to qualify for premium tax credits to purchase coverage through the new marketplaces.

The Kaiser Family Foundation report helps us understand more about who will fall into the coverage gap and where they live.

Texas will leave the most people behind with over 1 million uninsured Texans at risk of  falling into the coverage gap.  Florida is 2nd with an estimated 763,980 people and Georgia is third with an estimated 409,350 individuals who would be left out of the affordable Medicaid coverage option intended for them under the Affordable Care Act.  Mississippi has the highest percentage (39%) of its uninsured population at risk of falling into the gap, according to the Kaiser report.

If you live in a non-expansion state, check out the state table to see how many people will likely fall into the coverage gap in your state if leaders continue to reject the federal Medicaid funding.  Remember, it’s not too late for state leaders to change their minds and put out the welcome mat for more uninsured adults.  We have seen that when states put out the welcome mat for uninsured parents, more eligible but uninsured children gain coverage as the whole family signs up together.

Editor’s Note: This blog originally appeared on Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families Say Ahhh! Blog

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