Archive for June 2012

2012 Changes to State Health Care Programs

Twelve states have already started with federal health exchange law implementation. These states have expanded health insurance coverage for insured residents and encouraged uninsured residents to register. However, other states have declined the health insurance exchange. States like Arizona, Louisiana, Kansas, South Carolina and Washington are among those that rejected the law. On the other hand, states such as Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming are still considering how the law will be implemented.

• Arkansas

This state has 539,000 uninsured residents. This is around 19 percent of the total population. Arkansas has relied on the federal government for an insurance exchange and has started implementation. Gov. Mike Beebe stated that employees will only have health care coverage if the federal government will pay for it. The state doesn’t have a backup plan if it is overturned, and it will have to rely on Congress to think of a new solution.

• California

Around 19 percent of the 7,209,000 state residents in California are uninsured. The state is among those that cooperate with the federal health care law. The California Secretary of State’s Health and Human Services Agency announced that about half of all uninsured people have signed up on the state’s Web-based enrollment system. The state has also started requiring insurers to provide coverage for children with pre-existing diseases. Parents’ healthcare plans would also include young adults until they are 26 years old.

• Alabama

With 720,000 uninsured state residents, Gov. Robert Bentley constructed a commission in 2011. He recommended a plan for a health insurance exchange, but it was opposed by other legislators. Press Secretary Jennifer Ardis stated that they do not know if the state can afford Medicaid expansion. Gov. Robert Bentley also stated that they are still planning the best course of action regarding the Affordable Care Act.

• Colorado

Colorado has 656,000 residents without insurance. The state passed legislation on a health insurance exchange in 2011, and it will be implemented in October of 2013. Colorado will not wait for the elections and has started to use Medicaid for uninsured residents.

• Connecticut

Gov. Dannel Malloy plans to implement the federal health care law and meet all its deadlines. The state has already hired a board of directors and staff to implement the law. Connecticut also allows young adults below 26 years old to be included in their parents’ health insurance plans.

• Hawaii

Gov. Neil Abercrombie plans to fully implement the federal health care law. Hawaii is one of the states that support the law, and it used a $300,000 private grant to create a job for a coordinator to perform overhaul implementation. If the federal law is struck down, the state will find solutions to expand insurance coverage and develop a healthcare insurance exchange.

• Iowa

Although the state has not fully implemented the federal law, residents have slowly gained insurance benefits. Iowans with pre-existing medical conditions can now get coverage, and they no longer have lifetime caps on their insurance policies. The state has preventive insurance without co-pays including well-child visits, cancer screenings and immunizations. Young adults can also stay on their parents’ insurance coverage until the age of 26.

• Maryland

Gov. Martin O’Malley passed legislation to implement the healthcare insurance exchange. The state has started to create a plan for a marketplace where small businesses and individuals can get insurance coverage. Maryland will continue with the healthcare programs that they have started even if the federal law gets struck down.

• Massachusetts

The federal healthcare overhaul came from the state’s health care law passed in 2006. The key factors in the federal law are still implemented in Massachusetts including the individual mandate that requires almost every resident to have insurance coverage. Only 2 percent of the population in the state is without insurance.

• Michigan

Michigan has also started with federal health law implementation. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has been planning a health insurance exchange. However, Gov. Rick Snyder stated that they plan to focus on wellness initiatives if the exchange is not fully implemented.

• Minnesota

Minnesota is among the states that has fully implemented the healthcare exchange. As soon as Gov. Mark Dayton took office in 2011, he extended Medicaid coverage to over 80,000 adults. His administration developed an online health insurance exchange with $28.4 million secured from the federal government for the state’s planning efforts. The governor plans to add over 500,000 uninsured residents to the state’s Medicaid roster on January 1, 2014.

• New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered the implementation of a state-based healthcare exchange and will accept applications on October 1, 2013. The state targets the 15 percent of residents without insurance coverage. They will also expand Medicaid coverage to focus on full federal law implementation.