The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) unveiled its newly released recommendations for expanding healthcare coverage to thousands of uninsured residents. 

The department is calling its recommended plan, “Wyoming’s Strategy for Health, Access, Responsibility and Employment,” or the “SHARE Plan.”

People with incomes below the federal poverty line are not eligible for federal subsidies to purchase private insurance or for coverage through Medicaid if they live in a state that has not expanded the program, due to the way the Affordable Care Act was written and related court decisions. “Unless Medicaid is expanded in Wyoming, individuals in this group are left out completely,” said Tom Forslund, WDH director.

WDH expects that Medicaid expansion would inject $100-120 million in new federal funds each year into Wyoming’s economy. An analysis conducted jointly between WDH and the Wyoming Department of Administration and Information’s Economic Analysis Division suggests this funding would create approximately 800 new jobs.

Forslund expects Wyoming will be able to expand coverage without increasing the amount of state general funds spent on healthcare. “We could eliminate or reduce a number of programs within WDH that currently provide needed healthcare services to individuals with no other pay source.”

Forslund said "because expansion would shift financing from programs that use primarily state general funds to Medicaid, which is funded by both state and federal funds, the expansion effort would be revenue-neutral."

The plan includes a provision that if higher than normal federal Medicaid matching funding levels promised by the Affordable Care Act were to drop below 90 percent for individuals covered by expansion, the expansion programs would automatically end.