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Even Without Expansion, Obamacare Still Means Changes For Medicaid

Kansas policymakers have decided not to expand the state's Medicaid program or to create a Kansas-specific exchange for consumers to buy individual health insurance policies. But the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will bring some changes to the Medicaid program, whether the state's political leaders want to cooperate, or not.

The changes are outlined in a new report from the non-profit Kansas Health Institute. Analyst Emily Meissen-Sebelius says the ACA aims to streamline the process of applying for help with obtaining health insurance. She says one way it does that is by requiring a single application for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or tax subsidies to buy insurance through the exchange.

“The fact that a person would only apply once has potential to be a simpler process than finding out that you might not be eligible for one, and then having to apply separately," says Meissen-Sebelius. "That won’t happen with this single streamlined application.”

For the past four years, Kansas has been developing an electronic system to automatically screen an applicant’s eligibility for Medicaid, CHIP or exchange tax credits, and direct the applicant to the correct program.

The ACA also establishes new rules for what types of income to count when determining if a person is eligible for benefits.

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