Medicaid expansion and your income - - The News for South Mississippi

Medicaid expansion and your income

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

With the Affordable Care Act upheld by the nation's high court, many folks back home in Mississippi may not be getting a benefit they hoped for. With the Supreme Court giving states the choice of whether to expanded Medicaid programs and include more people, Mississippi state leaders aren't inclined to do so.

"It's not a situation where we're talking about people who don't want to work. We're talking about working families, working Mississippians," said Corey Wiggins, programs manager with the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program.

Wiggins says an expansion is a move the state needs. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant is against an expansion, saying the state can't afford it. His opposition adds the state to a list of a handful of states set to reject it.

"It is a blow and not just to those people and those individuals. I think this is a blow to Mississippi," said Wiggins.

According to numbers from the office of Medicaid, for an individual, anything above $4,836 a year is considered too much money to be a part of the state's Medicaid program. For a family of four, it's anything above $9,828. An expansion would raise those numbers much higher. Wiggins says the maximum income for an individual would go up to about $14,000 a year. For a family of four, it would go to about $29,000.

"If you go over that eligibility requirement for Medicaid and you have to purchase your insurance from the exchange, what happens then is you may become eligible for a subsidy to help pay for your coverage on the exchange," said Wiggins.

Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn are both opposed to an expansion as well. Reeves says an expansion would add nearly 400,000 people to the program and cost the state about $1.7 billion during the next ten years.

Wiggins expects lower numbers and says any cost is beneficial.

"We can talk about cost but I think we definitely should change this conversation and talk about it as an investment," said Wiggins.

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