Alabama seeks ways to bring health insurance to more people

MONTGOMERY, Alabama (WSFA) – Hundreds of thousands of people in Alabama live without health insurance, many without access to a doctor when they need it. When they get medical care, it ends up costing hospitals thousands of dollars in uncompensated treatment. These are people who work and earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to pay for private insurance.

Alabama is one of ten states that have not extended Medicaid coverage to children and adults without disabilities. The Alabama Hospital Association is working on a plan to make it more populated and cater to both political parties and people like hairdresser Erin Mullins.

“We are independent contractors,” explains Erin. There are many self-employed people in her industry. “I have to go to work to get paid, pay bills and take care of my family.”

In the five years she’s been in this job, she’s managed her finances without insurance.

“When I started doing hair and makeup, I didn’t have any covers, and I was a pretty healthy person, which was very lucky. So I paid for it myself,” she said. Ta.

Erin is just one of the 250,000 to 300,000 people in Alabama who fall under what the Alabama Hospital Association calls a coverage gap.

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“If you’re 18 or younger, you’re eligible for Medicaid as a child. And if you’re 65, you’re eligible for Medicare,” said the association’s vice president, Dan Howard. I explained the medical benefits they provide.

In Alabama, a parent or caregiver must earn less than $4,000 a year to be eligible for Medicaid. Those who do not have dependents or disabilities are not eligible at all.

“In some states, Medicaid programs cover healthy physical or healthy childless adults at a certain income level. I decided not to do it,” Howard said. “The state doesn’t put the same amount into the Medicaid program as most other states.”

“It’s very broken,” Mullins said of the system in place. “You feel the invisible.”

The solution is not easy. Lawmakers have made it clear that treating taxpayer funds with caution is a priority. The Alabama Hospital Association believes that investing upfront in Alabama’s health can pay off big in the long run.

“So we had to figure out a way to get health insurance for them so they could be healthier, so we could improve the health outcomes of the state, our workforce, and our health. The workforce will be a healthier workforce, which will return a lot of money to society.” A healthier population means a stronger economy,” Howard argued. “We will have information about the financial implications of closing the coverage gap, hopefully soon.”

Erin couldn’t wait for the state to raise money. Now she’s a new mom and her husband’s job has provided some insurance.

“Okay. Affordable for us,” she said. But that’s not all Erin needs. And hundreds of thousands of people are in the same situation.

“Currently, many efforts are underway to consider and develop Alabama-specific solutions that incorporate the best of several sister states that have already introduced solutions without burdening or burdening Alabama’s finances. is underway, discussions are taking place, and the finances,” Howard said hopefully.

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