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GOP governors look for way to expand Medicaid

New Jersey governor and ones from other states have thrown their support behind the governors of Ohio and Arkansas as they attempt to expand Medicaid against the will of conservative legislators in their states. By using a new market-centric approach, they hope to insure the poorer residents of their states. According to the federal government, however, these states have to provide evidence demonstrating that the costs beneficiaries experience with private insurance won't surpass those they would have to pay under Medicaid.

If successful, these changes may create 17 million new eligible beneficiaries. The federal government has given Ohio and Arkansas implicit approval to test out programs, and it may provide them with federal money to purchase private insurance for poor individuals. The insurance will be sourced from the Affordable Care Act's healthcare exchanges. While the government will pay these enrollees' costs for three years, the states will eventually be responsible for a portion as well. For those individuals currently wondering if they'll qualify for Medicaid, however, the fact that state legislatures still have to approve these changes means that their situations may not change much.

Opposing legislators are wary of adding more money to Medicaid because they believe that the system has major problems. Experts say that the states that do enact new expansion programs may serve as important test cases for the workability of a market system.

In the time it will take for any potential legislative changes to go through negotiations and take effect, many new senior citizens in New Jersey will become old enough to start considering Medicaid enrollment. In order to protect their assets and loved ones in the meantime, many consult with estate planning attorneys for sound counsel regarding retirement and nursing home planning as well as assistance with drafting crucial documents such as wills and trusts.

Source: Stateline, "Expanding Medicaid with Private Insurance," Christine Vestal, March 22, 2013

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