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Home Affordable Care Act ACA’s Expansion of Medicaid Takes Hold in Oklahoma

ACA’s Expansion of Medicaid Takes Hold in Oklahoma

3 minute read
by Robert Sheen

3 minute read:

In late June, Oklahoma joined 37 other states and the District of Columbia in expanding Medicaid under the ACA. Better late than never and in good timing as the state’s COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

The narrow passing came after 50.5% of voters approved to expand Medicaid amid the largest health crisis of our time. Oklahoma is officially the first state to expand Medicaid during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The United States Census Bureau currently lists Oklahoma with the second highest uninsured rate in the country, but now that the state has expanded Medicaid, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority projects that more than 200,000 new enrollees may sign up for coverage.

According to NBC News, the expansion could cost $1.3 billion annually, with the state share amounting to roughly $164 million. Methods for how to fund the expansion have yet to be determined and the state will have until July 31, 2021 to implement the expansion.

Given the high number of Oklahoma residents that have lost their jobs and employer sponsored health coverage, the number of enrollees could be much larger than projected. A Kaiser Family Foundation report issued in May identified 27 million Americans as having lost their employer-sponsored healthcare.

The majority of those Americans will probably obtain coverage through either Medicaid or the ACA Marketplace. That same KFF report identified 79% of Americans that lost their job due to COVID-19 related factors as being “ likely eligible for subsidized coverage, either through Medicaid (12.7 million) or through the ACA’s marketplaces (8.4 million).”

It’s no secret the expansion of Medicaid has played a part in providing coverage to Americans, COVID-19 or not. A recent study conducted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) found states that expanded Medicaid as a result of the ACA saw nearly a 30% drop in cancer related deaths.

Another study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research cites that 15,600 deaths could have been averted if all 50 states implemented an expansion of Medicaid, according to a post by Vox.

The expansion of Medicaid first started in 2014 and allowed states the ability to provide residents with coverage based on their income level, rather than a disability. As a result, thousands more Americans have been able to qualify for the government subsidized program.

With Oklahoma joining the majority in expanding Medicaid, it’s only a matter of time until the remaining 13 states do the same.

The continuing expansion of Medicaid is further evidence that the ACA is becoming entrenched in our healthcare ecosystem. From preventing cancer deaths to providing health coverage to those that otherwise wouldn’t have been able to obtain it, the expansion of Medicaid, and the ACA as a whole, have played a key role amid COVID-19.

Employers, that means the healthcare law is likely here to stay for good, and that means complying with the healthcare law’s Employer Shared Responsibility Provision (ESRP), also known as the Employer Mandate.

As a reminder to employers in conjunction with the Employer Shared Responsibility Payment (ESRP), the ACA’s Employer Mandate, Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) organizations with 50 or more full-time employees and full-time equivalent employees) are required to offer Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) to at least 95% of their full-time workforce (and their dependents) whereby such coverage meets Minimum Value (MV) and is Affordable for the employee or be subject to Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 4980H penalties.

The IRS has announced that it will begin issuing ACA penalty letters such as Letter 226J after July 15. If your organization is unsure of where it stands in regards to ACA compliance, Trusaic will perform a free ACA Penalty Risk Assessment to diagnose risk areas in your compliance strategy and get you on track.

We’re committed to helping companies reduce risk, avoid penalties, and achieve 100% ACA compliance. For questions about the ACA contact us here.

ACA’s Expansion of Medicaid Takes Hold in Oklahoma
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ACA’s Expansion of Medicaid Takes Hold in Oklahoma
Oklahoma has joined the ranks of 37 other states in expanding Medicaid under the ACA.
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The ACA Times
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