Insurance companies have proposed a net reduction in premiums of 2 percent next year for the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace, the health insurance exchange created by the Affordable Care Act. The Marketplace includes all of the plans used for the private option, the state's unique plan which uses Medicaid funds to purchase private health insurance for low-income Arkansans. […]What do you suppose Cotton has to say about that? Yeah, so far nothing. Nor has he commented on the news that disability claims in Arkansas have fallen by nearly 20 percent since the Medicaid expansion. That could mean significant savings for the state.
According to the governor's release: "This calculation includes the policies offered through the Arkansas Private Option, which will notice a small decrease in premiums, but will essentially remain flat in comparison to 2014. This is an aggregate projection, meaning that some individual consumers will see a small increase in premiums, and others will see their costs drop more than two percent. Nationwide, insurance costs historically rise by six-to-ten percent annually." The two percent decline represents a weighted average, meaning it's based on the number of people projected to be covered by each insurance carrier.
If Arkansas residents are indeed forgoing disability benefits because they can get healthcare coverage through Medicaid, it would have positive financial ramifications for the state's budget. That's because the federal government only picks up about 70% of the tab for healthcare coverage when individuals enroll through the disability program, as opposed to 100% for Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act through 2016.It's all good news out of Arkansas. Cotton's overlords, the Kochs, are really going to hate that.