Expanded Medicaid Enrollment In Arizona Is A Success

By Alexandra Olgin
Published: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 5:08pm

The issues plaguing the Affordable Care Act have not affected expanded enrollment for Medicaid in Arizona. More people are signing up for the state’s Medicaid program known as AHCCCS.

Earlier this year, Gov. Jan Brewer made a controversial decision to accept federal funding to expand Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act. The expanded AHCCCS enrollment for Arizonans started Oct. 1. Since then, outreach groups have enrolled almost 8000 residents.

Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers expects an extra 350,000 people to enroll in AHCCCS overall. Spokeswoman Tara Plese said some of the applicants are new to AHCCCS, but many are returning.

 “I think there are also a large number of people that were waiting with baited breath, especially those people that are childless adults who were basically pushed out of Medicaid with the freeze," said Plese. 

In 2011, the state stopped Medicaid coverage for childless adults to cut costs. With the federal money Arizona accepted to expand AHCCCS, the state is broadening eligibility to include childless adults and residents who live at 133 percent of the federal poverty level. That works out to a single adult making about $15,000 a year.