Fact sheets highlight impact of Medicaid expansion in rural Nebraska
LYONS, NEBRASKA – Of Nebraska residents who fall in the insurance coverage gap, nearly 36 percent live in the state’s rural counties. Today, the Center for Rural Affairs released two fact sheets outlining the state’s efforts to close this coverage gap, “Nebraska’s Stake in Medicaid Expansion” and “Implementing Medicaid Expansion in Nebraska.”
Last fall, voters expanded Medicaid coverage to 90,000 Nebraskans without access to insurance coverage. Implementation of the expanded Medicaid program is set to begin in October 2020. The fact sheets highlight the population to be covered, the process for implementation, and the economic impacts of expansion.
“When voters approved Medicaid expansion, they recognized not only the health benefits of expanded insurance coverage, but also the economics of expansion,” said Jordan Rasmussen, policy manager at the Center for Rural Affairs. “Expansion is estimated to stimulate nearly $1.3 billion in economic activity in the first three years, but the governor and his administration are slow-walking implementation—mitigating the benefits to people’s health and the state’s bottom line.”
Of Nebraska’s 64 critical access hospitals, an estimated 45 percent are under financial stress, according to the fact sheets. Rasmussen said rural hospitals often rely on Medicaid to provide essential health care services for their residents. For those without health insurance coverage, the costs accrued are often absorbed by hospitals as uncompensated care costs.
“For many of our rural hospitals, reimbursement for the services they provide to people in the expansion population will result in a significant decrease in uncompensated care costs,” said Rasmussen. “While we wait for expansion implementation, hospitals will continue to divert dollars from services and programs that benefit all members of the community.”
For more information and to view “Nebraska’s Stake in Medicaid Expansion” and “Implementing Medicaid Expansion in Nebraska,” visit cfra.org/publications/MedicaidExpansionInNebraska.
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