Blog Posts > At No State Cost, Proposed Medicaid Buy-in Legislation Could Provide Stability to West Virginia Working Families
February 10, 2022

At No State Cost, Proposed Medicaid Buy-in Legislation Could Provide Stability to West Virginia Working Families

For Immediate Release: February 10, 2022
Contact: Renee Alves, 559-916-5939

Charleston, WV – On Thursday February 10, Health Care for All WV, a statewide coalition of health advocacy organizations and individuals working to improve access to health care for West Virginians, held a press conference at the WV State Capitol Complex in support of HB 3001. The legislation, introduced by Delegate Evan Worrell (R-Cabell) would establish the Affordable Medicaid Buy-in Program, which would meaningfully address the Medicaid “benefits cliff” and ensure that no West Virginian would have to choose between accepting a better job opportunity and keeping their Medicaid health coverage. 

“The Medicaid buy-in legislation I introduced is aimed at providing hope to a large number of West Virginia working families who are trying to better their lives and the lives of their children through the workforce, but cannot afford the high cost of health insurance through their private employer today,” said Delegate Evan Worrell (R-Cabell).

Kelly Allen, Executive Director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy stated, “Delegate Worrell’s Medicaid buy-in provides a solution to the ‘benefits cliff’ that the West Virginia Legislature has expressed interest in addressing. With this legislation, we can ensure that no West Virginian currently on Medicaid will have to consider turning down a job or promotion for fear of losing their health coverage, and we can do so with federal dollars and at no direct cost to the state budget.”

The “benefits cliff” refers to a phenomenon where a small increase in income due to a new job or pay increase causes an individual or family to lose eligibility for Medicaid. Constituents like Jude Stephens understand the impact of this phenomenon on the lives of everyday West Virginians. “HB 3001 is important to me because it would give me the peace of mind to work extra hours without losing the health care that enables me to work in the first place,” said Stephens.

Dr. Jessie Ice, Executive Director of West Virginians for Affordable Health Care stated, “The Affordable Care Act helped lower West Virginia’s uninsured rate from 14 percent to close to just 5 percent by 2016. Unfortunately, we saw the uninsured rate increase to almost 7 percent in 2019. This is in part due to issues of affordability, which a Medicaid Buy-in program like HB 3001 would help to address.”

You can watch a recording of today’s press conference here and photos from the event here.

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