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TJ Jerke, Forum News Service, Published April 09 2013

Medicaid expansion sent to governor

BISMARCK – An estimated 20,500 North Dakotans will receive health insurance once Gov. Jack Dalrymple signs a bill passed Tuesday.

Senate lawmakers voted 33-14 to pass House Bill 1362, which expands Medicaid coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, passed by Congress in 2010. The act provides insurance for individuals 19 to 65 who are not disabled, don’t have insurance and have an income less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

Those living under 138 percent of the federal poverty level in North Dakota include an individual earning $1,285 a month, according to the Department of Human Services.

If signed into law, the expansion will become effective Jan. 1 and end July 31, 2017, when federal match payments drop from 100 percent to 95 percent.

The state expects between $154 million and $171 million in federal funds to come in during the next biennium to pay for the program.

The state’s share to cover the expansion for the current biennium will be about $248,789 from the general fund and about $2.8 million to $3.1 million for the 2015-17 biennium. The costs are associated with an increase in administrative oversight.