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MCT: Study: Medicaid expansion would add $1.1 billion to Kansas costs

2/9/2013

By KELSEY RYAN

By KELSEY RYAN

The Wichita Eagle

(MCT) — An independent analysis requested by the state estimates that Medicaid expansion would result in a $1.1 billion state general fund increase over the next 10 years, according to a news release by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Without an expansion, the study anticipates a $513.5 million increase in state general funds over 10 years.

The state contracted with Aon Hewitt to conduct the stud, and a summary was released Friday. The full report will be available next week.

"We look forward to working with the State Legislature in the coming weeks to discuss the findings as the members deliberate the impact of expansion," said KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer Robert Moser in the news release.

As part of the federal Affordable Care Act, Medicaid programs are to be expanded. The Supreme Court, however, ruled that states could opt out of the expansion plan.

In previous interviews, Gov. Brownback has said he wants to see if the state can reach some sort of compromise with the federal government regarding expansion.

The federal government is offering to pay 100 percent of the cost for expansion for the first three years, phasing down to 90 percent after that.

The proposed federal expansion would include people who make 138 percent or less of the federal poverty level. For example, the cut off for an individual would be about $15,400 per year and about $31,800 for a family of four.

The current Medicaid eligibility threshold is less than 32 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $5,900 for a family of four.

The Kansas Health Institute, which was established by the Kansas Health Foundation, estimates about 122,000 new adults and 117,800 children could be added to Kansas Medicaid under the expansion. KHI estimates the increase because of expansion would cost the state about $518.5 million from 2014 to 2020.

The expansion would particularly benefit childless adults in Kansas. The majority of Kansas Medicaid recipients are pregnant women, children and disabled people who are poor.

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