Implementing a largely federally funded expansion of Idaho's Medicaid program would save the state significant money, a consultant told Gov. Butch Otter's Medicaid work group Friday morning.
A report by two consultants from Milliman, a human-resources research firm that has done similar forecasts for states including Wyoming, said Idaho could offset 90 percent of the costs to its other programs primarily state and local programs that pay claims for the medically indigent.
The 2010 health care reform law expanded Medicaid coverage to all people who are slightly above the poverty level, with most of the money for the expansion coming from the federal government. Currently, Idaho covers poor children, the disabled and adults who have almost no income. The consultants projected that about 150,000 people would join Idaho Medicaid under the expansion.
If Idaho chooses not to expand its Medicaid program to poor adults, the state still would cover some of them when they incur catastrophic medical costs.
The consultants found that the state and local governments could save $6.5 million through 2024 if it adds poor adults to Medicaid. If it does the bare minimum required by law, Idaho would spend $283.9 million over that period.
Audrey Dutton: 377-6448