Report urges N.J. to expand Medicaid

A report issued Thursday claims that expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act could bring more than $1 billion into the state as well as provide coverage to more than 300,000 New Jersey residents who don’t have health insurance.

The report from N.J. Policy Perspective makes the case that the state economy would get an average annual boost of about $1.7 billion – money that the federal government has set aside for New Jersey to provide this coverage.

The Christie administration has not announced whether it will exercise this option.

According to the report, New Jersey could reap savings of roughly $2.5 billion through 2022 “because the federal government would pay a much larger share of the cost for covering some adults who already are eligible for Medicaid and NJ FamilyCare.

“New Jersey could save hundreds of millions more in a number of other areas,

including charity care reimbursements to hospitals, prison health costs, mental health costs, and health coverage expenses for state employees.”

According to the report New Jersey allows parents earning between 27 and 133 percent of the poverty level ($5,154 to $25,390 for a family of three) to enroll in NJ FamilyCare, a higher income limit than most states.

New Jersey pays 35 percent of the cost of their coverage and the federal government pays the rest. If New Jersey expands Medicaid, the report claims, the state would pay nothing to cover these adults in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

“The federal government would shoulder the entire cost during that period. After that, New Jersey would pay 5 percent in 2017, 6 percent in 2018, and 7 percent in 2019 before reaching 10 percent in 2020 – where the state’s share would stay permanently. This means that, even when the state’s cost of the Medicaid expansion is fully phased in, New Jersey would be paying far less to cover these parents than it does now.”

  Report urges N.J. to expand Medicaid