This is especially troubling for Arkansas because it has seen its uninsured rate decline very sharply since the Affordable Care Act was implemented in 2014. Among non-elderly adults (ages 19 through 64), Arkansas’ rate of uninsurance declined over 10 percentage points – from 24% in 2013 to 14% in 2015, one of the top ten largest declines in uninsurance rates in the country. Latest enrollment figures show that over 300,000 people are enrolled in the private option in Arkansas. Private option enrollees account for 80% of the Arkansas marketplace.Arkansas uses the federal marketplace to provide coverage for the Medicaid expansion.
I recently blogged about another state that begins with the letter “A” that faced some special challenges (Arizona) as Congress moves quickly to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Arkansas’ private option faces the risk of a more imminent collapse of its system of coverage — because even if a repeal bill delays implementation of the key changes (i.e., repeal of the Medicaid expansion, elimination of the premium tax credits for the marketplace) for, say two years, many experts believe that the marketplace will collapse more quickly. So that means that, in most states, the Medicaid expansion could continue along until the money actually goes away, but not in Arkansas.