The District of Columbia and Connecticut have become the first two jurisdictions to file plans with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to begin an early expansion of their Medicaid programs. Under the healthcare reform law, states are required to expand Medicaid eligibility to all individuals under 133% of poverty by 2014 – but may implement this requirement early if they choose.
Beginning July 1, the District would switch 35,000 low-income individuals from a city-funded insurance program over to Medicaid, where the majority of costs are paid by the federal government. As a result, D.C. estimates it will save $56 million over the next four years. Connecticut’s plan would add 45,000 people to Medicaid and save the state $53 million in just the next 15 months. As the economic recession continues, other states are considering early Medicaid expansions as a strategy for drawing down additional federal aid.