The Utah Department of Health announced today that they will now be able to expand Medicaid health coverage to a limited number of low-income Utah parents.
The expansion is expected to cover somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 low-income parents in Utah. Right now, Medicaid covers parents who make 45% of the federal poverty level. That’s about $11,000 per year for a family of four. This expansion will bump that number up to 60% or about $14,000 per year for a family of four.
Nate Checketts is the Director of Medicaid with the Utah Department of Health. He says the original bill that the Utah legislature passed last year that made this expansion possible was intended to extend coverage to a variety of groups: the chronically homeless, individuals in the justice system, and those with mental health and substance abuse issues.
"So that other piece is still on hold. It’s still with the federal government. But the parent piece, we can move forward with," Checketts said.
The policy goes into effect during a turbulent time for the healthcare industry with the current repeal of the Affordable Care Act, so even this limited expansion is not totally certain.
"But it has not gone through yet so that’s something we’ll need to watch over the next month or two to make sure it can happen," Checketts said.
He says if everything goes according to plan, eligible parents will be able to apply starting on July 1st, 2017.