FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Maria Guadarrama, Take Care Utah Community Relations Director
Allison Heffernan, Substance Use Disorder Outreach and Enrollment Program Director
Matt Slonaker, Executive Director
Beginning January 1st, up to 60,000 Utahns who were previously ineligible will be able to qualify for health insurance through Utah's new full Medicaid expansion. This new extension of eligibility expands coverage up to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level, or approximately $17,000 for an individual, or $35,000 for a family of four.
This expansion of eligibility has been the focus of intense grassroots advocacy efforts for more than six years in Utah, first in the legislature, then through a citizen ballot initiative. During the 2019 legislative session, when the repeal of the Proposition 3 Utah Decides Healthcare expansion was being debated, advocates again rose up and spoke out against full repeal-- fighting instead for a "Fallback Plan" in case of federal denial of the requested partial expansion.
That fallback proposal is what was approved on December 23rd, and what will be implemented on January 1st.
There are still many unanswered questions, but as of this week there are two certainties: expansion of eligibility up to 138% FPL, and the introduction of work reporting requirements. While UHPP remains concerned about those red tape burdens, and dedicated to fighting to overturn them and inform enrollees how to navigate them, this week we are focused on celebrating this massive victory for advocates and enrollment assisters-- but more importantly, for the people of Utah who have been waiting for years without access to affordable care.
Take Care Utah is thrilled to finally have full Medicaid expansion as an option to offer Utahns who come through our doors. Our free assistance is available year-round, and we look forward to helping lead a boom in sign ups. For too long we have had to turn people away because their income was too low to qualify for care, or after partial expansion, they would qualify, but then be unable to afford the Marketplace out-of-pocket costs and remain uninsured. This expansion of coverage will have a powerful real-world impact.