Wednesday, April 16, 2014

West Point News

Senator will introduce a new bill to expand Medicaid eligibility in state

The possibility of Nebraska doing something to expand Medicaid coverage isn’t over just yet, one state senator says.
The Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee held a public hearing last Wednesday afternoon on interim study LR 241, introduced by HHS Committee Chair Senator Kathy Campbell, to discuss the options for Medicaid coverage for newly eligible Nebraskans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Under the ACA, states have the option to expand Medicaid services to newly eligible individuals with incomes below 133 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). In states that have not yet implemented Medicaid expansion, including Nebraska, many individuals are falling into what is called the “coverage gap,” meaning their incomes are below 100 percent FPL, but they are not eligible for current Medicaid or eligible to enroll the state’s federal exchange, also known as the Health Insurance Marketplace.
It is estimated that roughly 55,000 Nebraskans fall into this gap.
Several individuals testified at the hearing to share their and other’s stories of the consequences of not expanding Medicaid and urged support for senators to adopt a bill in the upcoming legislative session.
Tammy Fiechtner, a rancher in Western Nebraska, is one of those who cannot afford insurance coverage under the ACA, but makes too much to qualify for Medicaid. She said there are many Nebraskans with situations similar to hers, especially in rural parts of the state.
“We’re hardworking people and we’ve been forgotten, not just by the federal government, but by the state,” Feichtner said.

For the full story, pick up the December 25 West Point News, or call 372-2461 to subscribe.

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