Medicaid expansion in Missouri finally appears to becoming a reality!

The Cole County Circuit Court on Aug. 10 ordered the state to begin accepting Medicaid applications under the expanded eligibility approved by voters in August 2020. This comes on the heels of the Missouri Supreme Court’s July 20 ruling that the voter-approved Medicaid expansion is constitutional.

The next day, Gov. Mike Parson announced that the Department of Social Services will begin accepting Medicaid applications under the expanded eligibility criteria. “My administration is always going to follow the law and yesterday’s court order is no exception,” the governor said.

The governor’s news release noted that updating staffing capacity and computer software could delay the processing of new enrollments for up to 60 days. However, benefits could be made retroactive to at least the time the individual applies. Funding for expansion, including utilization of federal funds, would be handled as a supplemental appropriation to be considered in the 2022 legislative session, according to an announcement by legislative leaders. Calculations by the Missouri Budget Project show that Missouri actually will save money with Medicaid expansion, requiring no additional general revenue funds.

Applications for expanded Medicaid may be made at https://mydss.mo.gov/  Under Medicaid expansion as specified in the Affordable Care Act, eligibility is extended to 19 to 64-year-old adults whose household incomes are 138% of the federal poverty guideline or less, currently $17,774 a year for a single person, or $36,570 for a family of four.

KCMS Foundation CEO Karole Bradford said, “Thanks to the many advocates for their years of dedicated efforts through the legislative process, the ballot box and most recently the courts. Because of this, some 275,000 Missourians now can gain access to needed health care.”