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Arizona faces complications with Medicaid expansion

Posted on November 1, 2012 | No Comments

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With regards to Medicaid expansion, Arizona is in a unique position. Arizona already voluntarily covers many of the beneficiaries who will be newly eligible in states that do decide to expand Medicaid. Whether Arizona will continue to cover its existing population or extend coverage to Affordable Care Act (ACA) levels, remains unclear. Because Arizona already covers childless adults up to 100 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), the state is not eligible to receive the ACA’s generous reimbursements for many of the “newly eligible” Medicaid beneficiaries.

In its waiver request, Arizona explains that “Arizona’s citizens are penalized for having elected to provide … coverage to all Arizonans under 100% FPL.”

The Obama administration’s solution to this roadbump will provide an indication for how flexible they plan to be in terms of regulating the ACA’s now optional Medicaid expansion. The state’s voluntary coverage of these childless adults is set to end in December 2013, which is when the state assumed the ACA’s Medicaid expansion would automatically kick in. The Supreme Court ruling modified the ACA provision, however, making the expansion optional.

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