Analysis: Up to 123K Idahoans Could Be Added to Medicaid

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The new faces of Medicaid in Idaho are expected to be a younger, healthier population mixed with older adults suffering from chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity.

In preparation for next week's meeting of the so-called "Idaho Medicaid Workgroup," commissioned by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter to forecast an expansion of Medicaid, the state of Idaho contracted with Leavitt Partners to analyze options in preparation for the full roll-out of the Affordable Care Act, which Otter is fond of calling "Obamacare."

According to a 124-page analysis from the Leavitt Group, a Medicaid expansion would require eligibility for all adults, ages 19-64, with income below 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. That means most childless adults or parents with individual annual incomes of $15,000 or family-of-four incomes of $30,000 or below would be newly eligible.

Federal funding would support 100 percent of the newly eligible population for 2014-2016, and the funding would be reduced to 90 percent by 2020.

The analysis estimates that there will be between 97,066-111,525 Idahoans newly eligible for Medicaid in 2014. But there are also expected to be as many as 12,000 Idahoans who are currently eligible, but not enrolled. That means, there could be as many as 123,824 Idahoans to add to the Medicaid rolls in 2014.

The next steps for the work group, which must make its recommendations to Otter by Thursday, Nov. 1, is to evaluate the costs associated with the Medicaid expansion and whether it recommends to opt out of such an expansion.