Helping Utah’s Working Families Access Affordable Health Insurance

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About Healthy Utah

As passed by Congress in 2010, the ACA included an expansion of Medicaid coverage to individuals and families who didn’t traditionally qualify. Because of the 2012 Supreme Court ruling, the states have more authority in creating expansion solutions that work for their states when it comes to deciding how to expand coverage to their most vulnerable citizens. The Supreme Court decision created what’s called the Medicaid Coverage Gap. The gap is made up of 53,000 low-income Utahns who earn too little to receive help on, and they earn too much or otherwise don’t qualify for Medicaid in Utah.

For the states that decide to expand their Medicaid programs to cover any individual who falls between 0-133% of the Federal Poverty Level, the federal government will pay 100% of the costs for the years 2014-2015, then phase down to 90% federal funding by 2020. This rate compares favorably to the current Utah Medicaid match rate where the federal government pays only 70% of the program’s costs.

Currently 27 states and the District of Columbia have chosen to expand their Medicaid programs. Utah’s legislature has studied the issue for the last two years, and they have not yet made a decision on what Utah should do. After recognizing this issue, Utah’s Governor Gary Herbert has created and negotiated with the federal government a Medicaid expansion alternative that works with the conservative values of our state. His plan will qualify for the 100% match rate, bring our taxpayer dollars back to Utah, and cover the entire expansion population with healthcare they desperately need.

Under the Healthy Utah Plan, a total 72,500 Utahns would gain access to affordable healthcare coverage in 2016. Over 85% of beneficiaries’ households have one or more adult working, over 66% of the individual beneficiaries are currently working one or more jobs, and over 44,000 parents with dependent children would receive health insurance under the Heathy Utah Plan.

There are many benefits to passing the Healthy Utah Plan, it will return over $260 million in Utah taxpayer dollars to our state, and back into our economy. We can expect to see an increase of nearly 3,000 health sector jobs created, and over 72,000 Utah lives covered with healthcare.

Polls & Surveys Summaries

Below there are documents with results from recent voter polling that has been done to survey how Utahns feel about the Healthy Utah Plan. There are also documents that explain the economic impact the Healthy Utah Plan will have on Utah’s economy, as well as demographic profiles of who it is that would benefit from the Healthy Utah Plan.


Utah Policy Poll (September, 2014)

This poll was conducted by Dan Jones & Associates polled over 407 registered Utah voters. Overall 77% of respondents preferred expanding healthcare coverage to low-income Utahns (54% Healthy Utah Plan, 23% Medicaid expansion)

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Healthy Utah Poll (June, 2014)

This poll was conducted by Dan Jones & Associates, and analyzed by Notalys LLC. Over 623 registered Utah voters across the state of Utah were polled on their feelings about the Healthy Utah Plan. Overall 88% of Utah voters prefer the Healthy Utah Plan to doing nothing.

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BYU Utah Voter Poll (April, 2014)

Researchers at Brigham Young University’s Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy polled over 880 registered Utah voters on how they felt about different Medicaid expansion alternatives. Overall, 76% of respondents preferred expanding healthcare coverage to low-income Utahns (43% Healthy Utah Plan, 33% Medicaid expansion).

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The Economics of the Healthy Utah Plan (June, 2014)

This economics report shows that the Governor’s Healthy Utah plan will provide economic benefits to state and county governments. The Healthy Utah Plan would provide comparable economic benefits to traditional Medicaid expansion.

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Demographic Profile of Who Would Be Eligible for Coverage (July, 2014)

This report provides a demographic and economic profile of newly eligible adults under the Healthy Utah Plan. Over 60% of beneficiaries are currently employed, and over 85% of family households have at least one adult working.

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Families USA Jobs Report (May, 2014)

Most Utahns who would be helped by expanding healthcare coverage are working. This report shows that 66% of the expansion population are currently working, or have worked within the last year.

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  1. What is Utah’s Coverage Gap?
  2. What are the top 5 Reasons to Support Healthy Utah Plan?
  3. What is Medicaid?
  4. Is the Healthy Utah Plan Private Insurance?
  5. What are other states doing with their Medicaid expansion?
  6. How much would the state pay for Healthy Utah?

What is Utah’s Coverage Gap?

The 2012 Supreme Court ruling made Medicaid expansion optional to all states, creating a coverage gap in states that have not expanded their Medicaid programs. In Utah, an estimated 53,000 Utahns fall into this gap—these are Utahns earning too little to qualify for help on, yet earn too much or don’t otherwise qualify for Medicaid benefits as they currently stand Utah.

Income Limits
Learn more about Medicaid in Utah
Learn more about the federal poverty limit and family sizes

What are the top 5 Reasons to Support Healthy Utah Plan?

  1. It Helps Hardworking Utahns | We will be helping Utahns who are working, but whose jobs either do not offer coverage or offer a plan that’s too expensive
  2. It Supports Utah Families | The Governor’s Healthy Utah Plan benefits 44,000 parents with dependent children
  3. It Helps Reduce Crime and Saves Taxpayers Money | Healthy Utah will reduce recidivism and save state corrections millions
  4. It Provides Security to Utah’s Older Adults | Healthy Utah helps older Utahns waiting for Medicare
  5. It Will Boost Utah’s Economy | The Healthy Utah Plan stops our tax dollars from going to other states
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What is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a source of health insurance coverage for Utah’s vulnerable populations. Medicaid is a state/federal program that pays for medical services for low-income pregnant women, children, individuals who are elderly or have a disability, parents and women with breast or cervical cancer. To qualify, these individuals must meet income and other eligibility requirements.

Is the Healthy Utah Plan Private Insurance?

Healthy Utah will primarily rely on the private market to provide insurance to approximately 95,000 low-income Utahns. The plan will use federal funding that would have come to the state to expand Medicaid to instead buy private plans, either through Utah’s online exchange, Avenue H, or through coverage offered by a recipient’s employer.

Learn more about the Healthy Utah Plan

What are other states doing with their Medicaid expansion?

As of December 2014, 27 states and D.C. are expanding their Medicaid programs.

  • Considering Expansion: Indiana, Tennessee, Utah, and Wyoming
  • Expanded with state-based programs (similar to Healthy Utah Plan): Arkansas, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania
Learn more about what other states are doing

How much would the state pay for Healthy Utah?

Under the optional Medicaid expansion, the federal government offered an incentive to pay for the full costs of expansion for the years 2014-2017. After 2017 the federal funding to pay for the expansion will gradually phase down to 90% federal funding and 10% state funding in the year 2020--where it will remain thereafter. Utah has already missed out on the first year of 100% federal funding, but if we act fast we can still secure our a year of 100% federal funding to maximize savings for the state.

In addition there are several ways Utah can pay for the remaining costs of the plan. The Public Consulting Group (PCG) did an independent cost benefit analysis which showed the state saving significant taxpayer dollars in Behavioral Health, Inpatient Services for Prisoners, and not having to pay for our current Primary Care Network as we would no longer need it. We can also implement a Provider Assessment.

Groups in Support of Increasing Access to Healthcare Coverage for Low-Income Utahns

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