ATLANTA — The cost of expanding Medicaid under the 2010 federal health care overhaul is rising faster than expected in many states, causing budget anxieties and political misgivings.
Far more people than projected are signing up under the new, more relaxed eligibility requirements, and their health care costs are running higher than expected, in part because the new enrollees are apparently sicker than expected. Rising drug prices may also be a factor.
As a result, at least three expansion states, Arkansas, Kentucky and Ohio, have been pushing to require Medicaid recipients to pay more toward their health insurance, a step some experts say could lead tens of thousands of poor people who can’t afford the extra cost to drop off the Medicaid rolls and go without coverage.
Contrary to common perceptions, Medicaid coverage isn’t always free: Many states require modest copayments, including some enrollees in Arkansas’ so-called private-option Medicaid expansion.
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