How Has the ACA Increased the Number of People Eligible for Medicaid?


Quick Answer

The Affordable Care Act has increased enrollment in the Medicaid program by expanding eligibility to low-income adults, making the process of enrollment easier and improving program outreach efforts. Many states opted to accept funds from the federal government for Medicaid expansion, which increases the number of eligible people per state.

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Full Answer

Before Medicaid expansion, the program mainly covered children, pregnant women and the elderly. The expanded program allows low-income adults with incomes that meet poverty criteria to sign up and gain access to health insurance. The federal government also updated and modernized the Medicaid enrollment process, making it simple for people to enroll in the program. Individuals can enroll by completing an electronic online form, submit an application by mail or call a dedicated enrollment phone number. All enrollment methods are designed to interact smoothly with state health insurance marketplaces.

Individuals applying for Medicaid benefits find out if they are eligible much faster due to electronic database management systems. Major efforts to inform the public about Medicaid eligibility requirements also increase enrollment numbers. The federal government orchestrated numerous outreach programs to get the word out about Medicaid expansion and how to apply during ACA open enrollment periods. Cost savings is a motivating factor for states expanding Medicaid to poor individuals, as the federal government covers a majority of program costs.

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