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Florida Medicaid Expansion Could Provide Coverage to 1 Million More

Medicaid has been one of the most hotly contested topics of this past year’s midterm election. With Republicans winning control of Florida’s House of Representatives, many feared that any chance of Medicaid expansion was dead in the water. However, individuals and business groups have recently proposed a free market option that would expand government-funded health care to an additional one million Florida residents.

The plan, called Healthy Florida Works, was designed by a coalition of private individuals and commercial groups. It would allow Florida dollars to accept federal funds to extend coverage to huge swaths of the Florida population. It works as an alternative to the Affordable Care Act and would serve as a free market solution while requiring personal accountability through monthly premiums and mandatory employment searches and job training.

Medicaid has been expanded in 27 states as well as the District of Columbia. The federal government has promised to cover one hundred percent of the costs for newly enrolled members. In Florida, this would mean an additional $5 billion in federal funds. In Florida, however, there is a coverage gap between those who do not earn enough to qualify for this federal financial aid to buy a private plan on the healthcare exchange but earn too much to benefit from Medicaid. The Healthy Florida Works plan is designed to target those individuals for coverage.

If approved, Florida would become the fifth state to adopt a healthcare model outside of the ACA. Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Michigan have forged this path already and could serve as important examples for Florida. Previously, for instance, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has rejected work eligibility requirements, so it is likely that Florida’s model will require revisions before it could see federal approval. If implemented, the plan would cost an estimated $1.4 billion over the next five years.

If you have questions about receiving Medicaid or need assistance drafting a Medicaid application, consult the experienced attorneys at Charles Law Office in Florida.

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