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[MM Curator Summary]: Another Buy-in program is up for discussion. Its been a hot minute.
Legislation focused on West Virginia health issues was a topic of debate and lawmaking during Saturday’s legislative session with many bills being passed through both chambers.West Virginia Legislative Photography/Photo by Will Price
Legislation focused on West Virginia health issues was a topic of debate and lawmaking during Saturday’s legislative session with many bills being passed through both chambers.
HB 3274 – Affordable Medicaid Buy-In Program Passed the House
Affordable Medicaid Buy-In Programs were a topic for debate in the House of Delegates.
House Bill 3274 would create the Affordable Medicaid Buy-in Program to help alleviate financial strain on recipients of Medicaid who start a job that disqualifies them from receiving their benefits.
Medicaid buy-in programs soften the “cliff effect” for recipients who lose their coverage when starting a new job that pays too much for Medicaid eligibility, until they can earn enough to afford other health insurance plans.
According to 2023 data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an individual would lose their Medicaid benefits in West Virginia when they earn more than $20,120 annually. The Affordable Medicaid Buy-in Program would allow that threshold to rise to 200 percent, or $29,160 annually.
Del. Evan Worrell, R-Cabell, explained the bill on the house floor.
“The idea behind this legislation is an attempt to mitigate the cliff effect for those individuals on Medicaid,” Worrell said. “The cliff effect occurs when wages from a new employment opportunity do not make up for a family’s loss of state benefits, putting the family in a worse financial situation.”
Del. Riley Keaton, R-Roane, asked Worrell questions and spoke in opposition to the bill on the House floor.
“So, we’re actually going to see is the public payer mix of patients grow pretty substantially for our health care providers,” Keaton said. “And then we’ll be faced with politically complicated decisions about how to make that program make sense.”
Jordan Maynor, R-Raleigh, spoke in support of the bill.
“I think my friend from the 15th (Keaton) brings up a great point. And it did get me thinking, but I think the intent of the bill is to move people off of Medicaid, keep a job, keep climbing that ladder of economic success, if they get off Medicaid completely eventually,” Maynor said. “And right now, it seems to be if we don’t do this, we’re incentivizing them to not keep their job, not take that pay raise and just be on Medicaid completely, which means no buy in from the patient.”
The bill passed the House with a vote of 73 yays, 19 nays and 8 absent, or not voting. The Senate will decide whether or not the bill makes it to the governor’s desk for his signature.