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Almost 9 million Americans found eligible for Medicaid or CHIP

  |   Feb. 28, 2014 at 7:04 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Nearly 9 million people have been determined to be eligible for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program since Oct. 1, U.S. officials said Friday.

More than 2 million people were informed of their eligibility in January with most of them in states that have chosen to expand Medicaid coverage to more of their residents, officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said.

The report by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid said the numbers do not include Medicaid eligibility determinations made via the federally facilitated online marketplaces at HealthCare.gov.

The Affordable Care Act provides states with new opportunities to expand state Medicaid programs to meet the needs of more uninsured people.

In states that expanded coverage, most individuals with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, or $15,521 for an individual and $31,721 for a family of four, are eligible for Medicaid coverage that began Jan. 1, the report said.

Not only is expanding Medicaid coverage, it's a good deal for states, federal officials said, with coverage for newly eligible adult beneficiaries fully paid by the federal government for the first three years and with at least 90 percent federal support after that.

Expanded coverage reduces hospitals' uncompensated care, lowers "cost shifting" to businesses that see higher health insurance premiums as some of the costs of caring for the uninsured are passed on to them and strengthens local economies, the report said.

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