ARKANSAS – Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced a plan Thursday that would provide Medicaid coverage for up to 500,000 Arkansans who were eligible for it but didn’t qualify for Medicaid under a federal waiver.
Hutchinson’s plan would also expand Medicaid coverage to all residents of the state.
It would apply to all Arkansas residents regardless of their age, race, color, national origin, gender, religion, disability, marital status, or genetic information.
It is part of Hutchinson’s proposal to expand Medicaid eligibility and coverage to more Arkansan residents under the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.
The governor’s plan is part, in part, of a push to expand coverage for Arkansas residents under a new waiver approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The waiver was designed to help states address the needs of Arkansas poorest residents and those who are more vulnerable.
It includes expanded Medicaid eligibility, a guaranteed monthly allotment of $1,500 for adults and children in the state, and the possibility of a waiver to purchase coverage for children under age 26.
Hooker said that in addition to providing coverage for Arkansand the entire state, he also wants to make sure people have a plan that provides them the coverage they need.
“We want to make it easier for Arkasaid people to find the coverage that works for them, not only for the state but also for themselves,” Hutchinson said in a statement.
The Arkansas Senate on Thursday voted to extend the waiver.
The House approved the bill by a voice vote, but did not take up the measure in its entirety.
Hickinson said that his plan would make it easy for Arkanas poorest citizens to get the coverage their families need, but also help them manage the costs of medical care.
The plan would not require residents to purchase insurance or to pay out of pocket.
Instead, it would require them to obtain coverage through the federal government.
It would also provide Medicaid-qualified residents a subsidy to help pay for the cost of health care.
It has not been set in stone.
Arkansas has a $2.3 billion state budget, which is set to expire in 2019.
The Medicaid expansion will be the largest expansion in the country under the Medicaid program, with Arkansas spending more than $700 million, according to the governor’s office.
About 1.1 million Arkansus have signed up for Medicaid, and it covers about 5.4 million Arkadans.
The expansion is expected to save taxpayers $2 billion in 2019, according the governor.
The Senate bill would extend the state’s Medicaid program through 2019, but not extend eligibility.
Hicks plans also would extend Medicaid coverage of people in nursing homes, a major barrier to accessing health care in Arkansas.
Hospital and nursing home care are the most expensive for Arkansasans and have become the most common reason residents are uninsured.
Hosanna-Meyer Hospital in Little Rock has seen a spike in the number of uninsured since the waiver was approved.
The state’s health department said in October that the hospital experienced a 4.5 percent spike in new patients last year.
More: Arkansas Medicaid recipients are receiving more health care coverage, but those coverage options are more limited than in previous years, according a report released last week by the state Department of Administration.
The report found that more than 9 million people received benefits from Medicaid coverage through December, a slight increase from last year’s figure of 8.2 million.