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The ACA Medicaid Expansion

The ACA Medicaid Expansion published on

Authored by Congressional Research Service
Edition: R43564

Historically, Medicaid eligibility has generally been limited to certain low-income children, pregnant women, parents of dependent children, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities; however, as of January 1, 2014, states have the option to extend Medicaid coverage to most nonelderly, low-income individuals.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA; P.L. 111-148 as amended) established 133% of the federal poverty level (FPL) (effectively 138% of FPL with an income disregard of 5% of FPL) as the new mandatory minimum Medicaid income eligibility level for most nonelderly individuals. On June 28, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, finding that the enforcement mechanism for the ACA Medicaid expansion violated the Constitution, which effectively made the ACA Medicaid expansion optional for states.

If a state accepts the ACA Medicaid expansion funds, it must abide by the expansion coverage rules. For instance, modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) counting rules are used for determining eligibility for the ACA Medicaid expansion population, and individuals covered under the ACA Medicaid expansion are required to receive alternative benefit plan (ABP) coverage.

The ACA provides different federal Medicaid matching rates for the individuals who receive Medicaid coverage through the ACA Medicaid expansion. The federal government’s share of most Medicaid expenditures is determined according to the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) rate, but exceptions to the regular FMAP rate have been made for certain states, situations, populations, providers, and services. The ACA adds a few FMAP exceptions for the ACA Medicaid expansion: the “newly eligible” FMAP rate, the “expansion state” FMAP rate, and the additional FMAP increase for certain expansion states. Due to these ACA FMAP rates, the federal government pays for a vast majority of the cost of the ACA Medicaid expansion.

On January 1, 2014, when the ACA Medicaid expansion went into effect, 24 states and the District of Columbia had included the ACA Medicaid expansion as part of their Medicaid programs. Michigan and New Hampshire implemented the expansion on April 1, 2014, and July 1, 2014 (respectively). Pennsylvania recently received approval to implement the ACA Medicaid expansion beginning on January 1, 2015.

Publication Date:
Dec 30 2014
1506018483 / 9781506018485
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
8.5″ x 11″
Black and White
Related Categories:
Health & Fitness / Health Care Issues


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