Under the terms of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or PPACA, the number of people eligible to receive medical care under the Medicaid program is set to expand in less than two years. The PPACA contains provisions that will allow 16 million more Americans to be covered under the Medicaid safety net.
The law states that starting in January of 2014, anyone who has a household income of up to 133% of the federal poverty level can receive Medicaid whether the person is employed or not. This means that anyone earning an individual income of about $15,000 will be eligible for Medicaid, while those with a family of four earning about $30,000 will also be eligible.
However, it is not entirely clear that the law will take effect as intended. Currently, the Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments about challenges to the constitutionality of the PPACA, also known as the Affordable Care Act. 26 states are challenging the law, and the court is expected to issue its ruling by June or July of 2012.
Since the law was enacted, five states have decided to expand their Medicaid program coverage early. California, Connecticut, Minnesota, New Jersey and Washington state, along with the District of Columbia, have already adopted the expanded Medicaid coverage provisions. Illinois is also considering an early expansion.