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Health Insurance Glossary

Definitions for common health insurance terms

Medicaid expansion

DEFINITION: A provision in the ACA called for expanding Medicaid eligibility in order to cover more low-income people. But in June 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that states could not be forced to expand their Medicaid programs, so it was left to each state to determine whether to participate or not. As of July 2013, 28 states are either expanding their Medicaid programs or leaning towards doing so.

The federal government will finance most of the cost of expanding Medicaid, and a small portion will be paid by participating states. The costs for enrollees who are newly eligible under the expanded guidelines will be covered 100 percent by the federal government until 2016. That will decrease to 90 percent by 2020, but will not go below that amount.