- AARP - http://blog.aarp.org -

New Health Care Coverage Gap

medicaid-cardMeet Lorna, a 59-year-old who has been unemployed for a year and, as a result, doesn’t have health insurance. She has Type-2 Diabetes.  Recently she had to have some blood tests done, costing $600 that she can’t afford.  She has a broken tooth that she’s not able to get fixed.  She wants to work, but can’t find a job in the area.

Meet a 60-year-old woman whose husband retired in 2010 and, as a result, she lost her health insurance coverage. The couple couldn’t afford the $650 per month that it would cost to continue her coverage.  In August of last year, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and had to have surgery that cost $32,000.  The provider discounted the bill by 60 percent.  Still, the only way she can pay for some of the cost is by charging it to a credit card.

 What do these women have in common? They lack access to affordable health care because:

If Nebraska expanded Medicaid coverage, Lorna and the 60-year-old woman fighting breast cancer would have health insurance coverage. Under the health care law, individuals with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level could be covered with Medicaid. But, if states refuse to expand Medicaid, the poorest citizens will fall into the new “coverage gap” – and an estimated 4 million adults age 45-64 who are currently uninsured will remain without health coverage.

You may also be interested in: 5 Reasons to Care about Medicaid Expansion

What would happen if these states expand Medicaid, and the gap closes?

Find out what would happen in your state.

Follow me on Twitter @RoamTheDomes for more on the new coverage gap.  And, to stay up-to-date on Medicaid expansion in the states, sign up for the AARP Advocate newsletter or visit your state Web page.