Report: States Get More, Spend More On Medicaid Under ACA

According to recent report released by the National Association of State Budget Officers, states are receiving and spending more money on the Medicaid health insurance program. The Affordable Care Act allowed more people to enroll in Medicaid and gave states 90 to 100 percent reimbursements for new enrollees. In fiscal year 2014, the increase in federal funds to states was almost entirely due to additional Medicaid dollars. Although Medicaid spending rose in most states, it was mostly funded by the federal government. Federal funding for Medicaid increased 17.8 percent, but state dollars directed towards it grew only 2.7 percent, according to the report.

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States Executing the ACA on Their Own Find Positive Results Compared to Others

On Wednesday, President Obama specifically spoke to directors of state-based insurance marketplaces for implementing his exclusive healthcare law. A video conference was held, recognizing their progress in setting up the health exchanges on their own. The President specifically observed 16 states and the District of Columbia acknowledging their determination and progress for deciding to set up the exchanges on their own—while others have the federal government do the work mandated by the ACA. Since these states have taken initiative, positive results are being seen. Premium proposals from insurers in these few states are lower than expected since they have decided to incorporate the law themselves. In the 34 states that have declined to set up their own exchanges, CMS will operate a health insurance exchange rather than a state-based exchange beginning in 2014.

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Are You Expecting a Subsidy Next Year?

If you purchase your own health insurance you may be in luck. Next year, under Obamacare, subsidies will be available to help both individuals and families pay their premiums. Researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation have created a report to better explain subsidies and what you may expect in financial assistance. Based on their analysis, “about 48 percent of adults’ currently purchasing coverage for themselves will be eligible for subsidies next year.” That is an average of $5,548 per family—some receiving more than others, some less. Subsidies are also based on an age curve, the younger the individual, the lesser the subsidy. Also, people earning more than 400 percent of the federal poverty level ($46,000 for a single person or $94,000 for a family of four) will not be eligible for a subsidy. Individuals who have coverage through their employer or are on government health plans will also not be eligible for a subsidy next year. Although the estimated average subsidy ($5,548) will cover a significant 67 percent of the average family plan.

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Breaking Down ObamaCare Employer Mandate

Employers with 50+ full time employees who chose to opt out of providing Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) face multiple tax penalties under the ACA employer mandate.  If the employer offers MEC plans, they avoid a yearly $2,000 tax per employee and the employee who enrolls satisfies the individual mandate.  Consequently, if the plan offered by the employer does not have Minimum Value (MV) the employer can still be subject to a tax of $3,000 for employees who decline the employers’ plan and shop at a state or federal exchange.  Minimum value plans must cover at least 60% of the costs of services covered under the plan and cost no more than 9.5% of the employees W-2 earnings.  If an employer wishes to avoid all potential penalties under ObamaCare, it may be in their best interest to offer both a MV plan and a MEC plan.

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House Moving To Kill Key Obamacare Provision

In one week, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments surrounding the key provision of the 2010 health care law – the individual mandate.

But outside of the courts, efforts in Congress to tinker with the complex and controversial law continue, including a vote this week  to abolish a central piece of the 2010 health care law: the Independent Payment Advisory Board. The intent of the board was to try and take the politics out of Medicare by giving some of its spending decisions to independent experts.  The controversy around the panel’s very existence shows just how difficult that goal will ever be to achieve.

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