Though the Supreme Court is considering a challenge that may make the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, a recent Wall Street Journal article points out that as long as the law is not overturned, millions more Americans will be able to use Medicaid as a viable health care planning option.
Medicaid began its life as a joint federal and state program designed to provide healthcare insurance to the impoverished, elderly, pregnant women, children, and those with disabilities. Under the expanded Medicaid provisions found in the healthcare law, people earning up to 133% of the federal poverty income level will also become eligible to receive Medicaid starting in 2014.
Even though the Supreme Court has yet to issue its ruling, seven states have already adopted the expanded eligibility guidelines for the 2014 date, such as Colorado, California, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Washington DC. States have also begun simplifying the application process and are sharing patient application information in order to make it easier for those on Medicaid who must move to a new state. Other states, such as Georgia, Wisconsin, and Michigan, have moved the Medicaid application process online, making it easier for new applicants to apply.
Starting in 2013, Medicaid will also begin increasing the payment amounts that it provides to doctors who provide services to Medicaid recipients. This will likely increase the number of doctors who take Medicaid patients, making it easier to find primary care physicians.