By Katie Kuba
ELKINS, W.Va. — Per capita, West Virginia has the highest number of people registered for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion program in the nation, according to state officials.
The act, also known as Obamacare, gave states the option of expanding their Medicaid program to include people who were not previously eligible for coverage, and in 2013, West Virginia chose to expand Medicaid coverage.
Registration opened on Oct. 1, 2013, and as of Monday, Dec. 23, nearly 83,000 people had been deemed eligible for Medicaid under the expansion, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Jeremiah Samples said Friday.
“As of Monday, 82,981 folks had gone through the process and have been determined eligible,” Sample said. “West Virginia, per capita, has the highest number of people signed up for the Medicaid expansion.
“Certainly, there are other states that have registered more people numerically, but when you look at population, we’re way ahead, and that’s because we undertook several strategies to, in essence, prequalify people (for coverage under the Medicaid expansion)…”