95,000 Minnesotans moved to Medicaid - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Fanna Haile-Selassie

95,000 Minnesotans moved to Medicaid


Rochester, MN (KTTC-DT) --

95,000 Minnesotans will be insured through Medicaid now that Governor Mark Dayton has officially opted Minnesota in to the early expansion of the program. Currently, it only accepts mothers, children, and the disabled, but in three years, it will expand to accept all people with incomes under 133% of the poverty line. And since Minnesota has already been providing care to all of the state's lowest earning residents for years, the Federal government is giving it the chance to receive some extra funding through the Federal Health Care Law.

"They were ultimately able to make sure that Minnesota and these other states were able to get a really well-deserved reward for creating programs like Minnesota Care a decade before the United States reform or the Federal reform considered that," explains Dr. Douglas Wood with the Mayo Clinic Health Policy Center.

$1.4 billion is up for grabs to Minnesota if it can match that number in dollars spent towards providing care for those who would be added into Medicaid. Last year's legislature figured out how when it came up with a last-minute solution to saving its General Assistance Medical Care program for low-income residents.

Here's how:

The state currently pays $273 million for those moving out of GAMC and $942 million for those moving out of Minnesota Care. But that's only roughly $1.2 billion. So, the legislature cut some funding to hospitals to make up the difference.

"Having the additional federal money come in helps to reduce those costs, helps reduce the costs to Minnesota, and actually helps reduce some of the cost shifting to others of us who are actually buying insurance," says Dr. Wood.

Once the federal law goes into affect for the entire country, the Minnesota Hospital Association says the state's share in Medicaid will go back to what it is now, before 95,000 more people. Still, those Minnesotans will have to wait a good 8 to 10 months before actually rolling into the Medicaid program.

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