120K people in Oklahoma gain Medicaid coverage as expansion takes effect

About 120,000 people in Oklahoma are gaining Medicaid coverage effective Thursday, as the state’s expansion of Medicaid takes effect, according to the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Oklahoma voters passed Medicaid expansion last year in a ballot measure, and the expansion takes effect starting Thursday. Oklahoma is now the 37th state, plus D.C. to expand the program under the Affordable Care Act, and the 5th to expand it at the ballot box. Missouri voters adopted expansion as a constitutional amendment, but the governor and the state legislature refused to implement it

Since applications opened on June 1, more than 120,000 people have applied for and been determined eligible for Medicaid coverage, HHS said. An additional 70,000 people who have not yet applied are also eligible, the department said.

More money coming: The American Rescue Plan, passed earlier this year, provides an additional 5 percentage points of the federal share of Medicaid funding for a state, as an incentive to expand. The money wasn’t on the table when voters initially passed expansion, so the extra infusion is a bonus of sorts, though it only lasts for the next two years. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Oklahoma will see an addition $860 million.