Did Pennsylvania accept the Affordable Care Act Medicaid Expansion?

Pennsylvania residents should know how the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion, also known as the Obamacare expansion, impacted the state. When the federal government enacted the ACA Medicaid expansion, Pennsylvania and states throughout the country had the option to participate in expanded coverage as well as choose parts of ACA expansion while rejecting others. States can choose to what degree they want to participate in expanding Medicaid services and which provisions within the ACA they want to offer. The ACA Medicaid expansion cost to states was a factor officials needed to consider when opting for or against the new terms. Funding from the ACA tapers with time and the expanded Affordable Care Act Medicaid eligibility requirements increase the resources needed to run the program. To find out what is the Obama Medicaid expansion and more specific Pennsylvania Obamacare Medicaid expansion details, review the outlined material below.

What is the expansion of Medicaid in Pennsylvania?

The Affordable Care Act Medicaid eligibility requirements that former President Obama introduced in the ACA in 2010 implemented affordable health care coverage to a wide range of Americans beyond prior Medicaid eligibility guidelines. The goal of the less stringent Affordable Care Act Medicaid application qualifications was to decrease the number of uninsured people in the United States so that more residents could access the medical care they need. Obamacare sought to increase eligibility and insurance coverage for those who qualify as well as improve health care delivery while controlling health care costs.

The Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion became effective January 1, 2014, but was set to roll out when signed into law in 2010. Since then, the District of Columbia and 33 states have chosen to participate in the ACA Medicaid expansion, which offers expanded eligibility to nearly all low-income people who earn at or less than a certain percentage of the federal poverty level. Most of those who benefit from ACA Medicaid expansion eligibility requirements are people working in low-wage jobs that do not offer health insurance.

Although the income limits used to calculate Medicaid eligibility may vary somewhat state to state, the ACA expansion enabled more people to access both Medicaid and low-cost health insurance options than ever before. Expanded ACA coverage for low-cost insurance, along with insurance mandates requiring people to buy insurance based on their income level, decreased the number of uninsured people throughout the country including Pennsylvania. While 33 states and D.C. expanded Medicaid health coverage for low-income families, 18 states do not offer to expand Obamacare. Many considered the ACA Medicaid expansion cost to states and opted not to accept the widened eligibility terms. The 18 states that have not yet expanded Medicaid include Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah and Idaho. The other 33 states including Pennsylvania accepted Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion.

Download our free and comprehensive guide to find out more about how the ACA expansion can influence your ability to enroll in PA Medicaid successfully.

What does the Affordable Care Act expansion mean for Pennsylvania?

Before the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania, only disabled people, pregnant women and very low-income families with dependent children were able to qualify for Medicaid. Since Pennsylvania accepted two parts of the ACA Medicaid expansion, the health insurance marketplace and eligibility requirements, more residents have been able to obtain coverage.

Since the Obamacare expansion, eligibility rates have increased substantially and most low-income PA residents are eligible for Medicaid. Since Pennsylvania adopted the ACA Medicaid expansion, over one million Pennsylvanians younger than 65 years of age have been able to get the health coverage they need. By implementing these sections of the Affordable Care Act the percentage of uninsured Pennsylvania residents dropped to just 6.4 percent in 2015. In Pennsylvania, the Affordable Care Act expansion has:

  • Increased the number of people enrolled in Medicaid/Medical Assistance.
  • Increased the number of residents enrolled in marketplace insurance plans at low cost to consumers.
  • Prevented Pennsylvania deaths.
  • Reduced the number of uninsured residents.

The Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid eligibility and created a new financial eligibility model, the Modified Adjusted Gross Income. People who do not qualify under the ACA expanded MAGI eligibility guidelines can still apply for Medical Assistance and may be eligible for federally subsidized insurance through the health insurance marketplace. Out of all those who applied for financial assistance on marketplace plans, 78 percent were eligible to receive tax credits to reduce their health insurance premium costs.

In addition to expanding the number of people covered by Medical Assistance and marketplace insurance plans in Pennsylvania, Obamacare Medicaid expansion has also increased what health care services are covered. The ACA Medicaid expansion means that more Pennsylvania residents get access to health insurance and that they face fewer barriers to getting the treatment they need, which may have been denied before the Affordable Care Act.

Expanded Affordable Care Act Medicaid eligibility has not only increased access to necessary health care services but has also protected residents from out-of-pocket medical expenses devastating their lives. Expanded Medicaid eligibility and marketplace enrollment mean that people and families have the insurance coverage they need to meet their medical needs, that there are fewer uninsured people who face financial ruin due to medical bills and prescription drugs are more affordable. However, since more PA residents qualify for coverage with the expanded ACA Medicaid eligibility requirements, the funding needed for the program also increases. The ACA Medicaid expansion cost to states is approximately 10 percent of the overall expense for expanded care.

For more information on Affordable Care Act Medicaid eligibility guidelines and benefits of coverage, download our in-depth guide.

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What Health Services Are Available in Pennsylvania?

From Obamacare health insurance plans to Medicaid and Medicare, there are various types of health coverage available in Pennsylvania. Each type of insurance can be accessed through a different application method. To learn about the easiest ways to apply for affordable health care in GA, download our comprehensive guide on health services.

Who Is Eligible for Affordable Health Services in Pennsylvania?


Affordable and free health services are often limited to Pennsylvania residents who meet all established eligibility requirements. Income, age and household size are often key factors taken into consideration when determining an applicant’s qualifications. Discover if you qualify for free or reduced-cost health insurance by reviewing the in-depth information on all program eligibility requirements within our comprehensive guide.