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Medicaid Expansion: Considerations For States Regarding Newly Eligible Jail-Involved Individuals

NCJ Number
Health Affairs Volume: 33 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2014 Pages: 455-461
Stephen A. Somers; Elena Nicolella; Allison Hamblin; Shannon M. McMahon; Christian Heiss; Bradley W. Brockmann
Date Published
March 2014
7 pages
This article examines issues that States should consider regarding jail-involved individuals eligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
The passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) allowed for States to expand their Medicaid eligibility requirements to individuals with incomes up to 138 percent of the Federal poverty level. This increase should enable a large portion of the jail-involved population to have access to health care coverage and services upon release from jail, leading, hopefully, to improved health outcomes and a reduction in recidivism for this group. These improvements are contingent on whether or not States decide to expand their Medicaid coverage to include adults in the criminal justice system. This article examines the benefits to States that could result from their expansion of Medicaid under the ACA. These benefits include the ability to increase behavioral health treatment services, a reduction in the cost of providing health care to incarcerated individuals, improved overall health of the targeted population, and increased opportunities to connect the jail-involved population with health care coverage upon their release. The article highlights efforts by Connecticut and Rhode Island to improve Medicaid expansion efforts to meet the needs of the targeted population. 1 exhibit and 23 notes