BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s Medicaid expansion program is projected to cost $376 million more than expected this year, as older and costlier uninsured patients sign up for the free coverage, according to the latest data released by the state health department.
The higher-than-expected cost will boost the estimated price tag for the program to $2.3 billion this fiscal year.
But it won’t be a drain on the state’s deficit-riddled budget. The Louisiana Department of Health says the shortfall will be covered entirely by federal Medicaid financing, as long as lawmakers agree to plug the federal dollars into the budget.
The data also means Louisiana’s long-term costs for the Medicaid expansion could be higher than anticipated when Gov. John Bel Edwards embraced the government-financed coverage for the working poor earlier this year.
Jeff Reynolds, chief financial officer for the health department, said the latest numbers suggest the program will cost more not …
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