AARP AARP States Nebraska

10 Reasons to Support Medicaid Expansion - #2

#2 - Medicaid Expansion will provide health care coverage for thousands of Nebraskans who don’t have it and can’t afford it.

  • To be eligible for Medicaid expansion, a person must:
    • have an income below 138% of poverty;
    • not be pregnant;
    • o     not be eligible for Medicare or Medicaid; and
    • o     be a citizen or meet the Medicaid eligibility requirements for legal permanent residents.1
  • ·          138% of poverty for a single person equates to $15,415.2  A person who works 40 hours per week at minimum wage would earn $15,080 in a year.3
  • For a two-person household, 138% of poverty is $20,879.2  That would be equivalent to a single parent working 40 hours per week at $10 per hour.
  • Most persons who will be eligible for expanded Medicaid will be adults between the ages of 18 and 64 who don’t have children in the household or parents of children who have an income between 50% and 138% of poverty.
  • A 2001 national study comparing health status of people who are eligible for Medicaid found that less than two-thirds of adults who are eligible for Medicaid enroll in Medicaid.4  2010 Census data indicates that Nebraska has a lower participation rate.
  • The Census Bureau estimated that, in 2011, there were between 72,000 and 90,000 Nebraskans between the ages of 18 and 64 who had an income below 138% of the federal poverty level and no health insurance.5  Of those persons, between 47,000 and 59,000 have incomes below 100% of poverty and would not be eligible for tax credits in the exchange.
  • ·          Additionally, there were between 19,000 and 28,000 Nebraskans with incomes below 138% of poverty who purchased insurance coverage directly.5  Of those persons between 13,000 and 19,000 have incomes below 100% of poverty and would not be eligible for tax credits in the exchange.  For those individuals, direct purchase of health insurance consumes a large share of their income.
  • ·          AARP is particularly concerned about the ability of Nebraskans between the ages of 50 and 64 to be able to afford health insurance since Nebraska allows unlimited aging rating of health insurance premiums.
  • ·          A 2009 report prepared by Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Nebraska indicated that a BlueEssentials+ plan for a 60-year-old couple in poor health would cost $1,355 per month.6   In 2009, that would have amounted to 112% of the income of a couple living at the federal poverty level (FPL).7
  • ·          This year, a 64-year-old male non-smoker would pay a premium of $1,473.78 per month for coverage through the Comprehensive Health Insurance Pool.8

This fact sheet is brought to you by AARP Nebraska.  For more information, contact Mark Intermill at 402-323-5424 or


1 The Medicaid expansion is outlined in Title II-A of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  A compilation of the act may be accessed at this link.

2 The federal poverty levels for 2013 were issued in the Federal Register, Vol. 78, No. 16, January 24, 2013, pp. 5182-5183.  They may be found at this link.

3 The minimum wage in Nebraska in 2013 is $7.25 per hour.

4 Davidoff, Amy J; Garrett, Bowen; Yemane, Alshadye; Medicaid-Eligible Adults Who Are Not Enrolled Who Are They and Do They Get the Care They Need?; Number A-48 in Series, "New Federalism: Issues and Options for States", Urban Institute, October 2001.

5 Information on insurance status is derived from Bureau of Census; Table B27016; Health Insurance Coverage Status and Type by Ratio of Income to Poverty Level in the Past 12 Months by Age; Universe: Civilian noninstitutionalized population for whom poverty status is determined  2011 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates  The Bureau of Census report includes an estimate and a margin of error for that estimate.  The margin of error are reflected in the ranges listed in the report.

6 Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Nebraska; Broken Promises: The Nebraska Blues Health Care Reform Impact Study, 2009

7 The federal poverty level for a two-person household in 2009 was $14,570.

8 The rate calculator for the Nebraska Comprehensive Health Insurance Pool may be found at the NECHIP website.

[Photo Credit: Tax Credits/Flickr]

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