What is "Medicaid expansion" and how is it related to my health insurance choices?
Medicaid is a health insurance program for low-income people that is administered by the states. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was designed to offer insurance options for people who are working and can pay monthly premiums. The ACA was also designed with the assumption that states would open (or "expand") Medicaid enrollment to more low-income people in their states. The US Supreme Court ruled that states have the option of whether or not to "expand" their Medicaid enrollment in conjunction with the ACA. Some states have chosen to do so; others (including Tennessee) have not at present. Medicaid is called TennCare in Tennessee.
Some low-income residents of states that are not "expanding" Medicaid will not qualify for the premium assistance or cost-sharing subsidies under the ACA, and will not be able to afford to pay the premiums. Unless Medicaid opens up in their state, they will have no new health insurance options. Staff and volunteers at some community health centers and hospitals are aware of the situation, and are preparing to help health consumers determine if they may be eligible for new insurance through the Marketplace or will continue to access clinic and hospital services on a fee-for-service or sliding scale basis.