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State finds as many as 12,000 Alaskans fall in 'Medicaid gap'

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Posted: Monday, June 16, 2014 12:00 am

FAIRBANKS — The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services has completed a report requested by Gov. Sean Parnell on the number of people not covered by the federal healthcare marketplace who would be aided by Medicaid expansion.

The report, delivered to the governor June 9, attempts to “loosely define” the population in Alaska that falls within the gap between the two programs, provide an overview of safety-net services in the state and describe the funding supporting those services.

Parnell requested the report from the department after refusing to accept federal funding to expand Medicaid in the state, citing expanding costs to the state.

The department estimates between 10,000 and 12,000 Alaskans fall within the coverage gap. Previous reports by the federal Department of Health and Human Services estimated close to 40,000 Alaskans would qualify under Medicaid expansion.

The report states that while gaps in service exist, they are more limited than generally believed, but also that access to care and specialized services is “challenging” for those without health care coverage.

Those that fall within the gap have an annual income of less than $14,859 for one person or less than $19,660 for a household of two and does not qualify for medicaid or other assistance programs like tribal health services, according to the report.

Estimates in 2013 by the Lewin Group and in 2014 by the Kaiser Family Foundation found the number of uninsured Alaskans earning less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level to be 20,000 and 17,290, respectively.

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