Archive for July 6th, 2011

More Qualify for Medicaid When You Compare Health Insurance Reform Law

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

An interesting part of the healthcare reform act from last year will allow 3 million middle class Americans to qualify for Medicaid.  This could put a huge strain on the government and seems to many lawmakers to be a mistake.  The Associated Press article “AP Exclusive: Medicaid for the middle class?,” by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, discusses the possible loophole.  Medicaid health insurance is meant to help the poorest Americans, but will now be available to pre-retirees making around $64,000, or 138% of the federal poverty level, starting in 2014.  Pre-retirees who compare health insurance might decide to take the government up on this free healthcare until they qualify for Medicare at age 66.

The loophole allowing millions more Americans to qualify for Medicaid is that Social Security will no longer be included in the income eligibility determination for the government health insurance.  A spokesman from the Health and Human Services Department said that they are concerned about middle class Americans qualifying for a program meant only to help the neediest in America.  The main concern is over the financing of course.  Millions more getting relatively free healthcare means millions more government dollars being spent.  Early retirees can get Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but are not eligible for Medicare health insurance until age 66.  Currently, they have to find another form of health insurance, whether they get a limited benefit plan like Go Blue Florida, or comprehensive individual health insurance.  It is likely that something will be done to change this loophole before it is to take effect in 2014, but if not this could mean big bucks paid out by the federal and state governments.