Issue Brief
February 2015

Medicaid Expansion Helps Low-Wage Workers

Update: Who benefits from Medicaid expansion in 22 states? New infographic

Many of the hardworking people engaged in jobs we rely on every day—from childcare aides to bus drivers to waitresses—lack access to affordable health insurance. We recently examined data showing that many of these low-wage uninsured workers could gain health coverage if their states accepted federal dollars to expand Medicaid.

To date, 30 states (including D.C.) have chosen this option and expanded health coverage to adults with incomes up to 138 percent of poverty. (In 2014, that amounts to an annual income of $27,310 for a family of three).

In our analysis of data from the 22 states* that have not made the choice, we found that more than half of residents who could benefit from Medicaid expansion are working adults—and that they work in occupations that make up the foundation of the state’s economy.

We have examined data for these states:

Infographics: Alabama | AlaskaFlorida | GeorgiaIdaho | Kansas | Louisiana | Maine | MississippiMissouri | MontanaNebraskaNorth Carolina | OklahomaSouth Carolina | South DakotaTennessee | Texas | Utah | Virginia | Wyoming

Briefs (PDF): Alabama | AlaskaFlorida | GeorgiaIdahoKansas | Louisiana | Maine | MississippiMissouri | MontanaNebraskaNorth Carolina | Oklahoma | South Carolina | South DakotaTennessee | Texas | Utah | Virginia | Wyoming

Methodology: To access the methodology for each state, go to the Downloads box on the right and click on the state name.

The infographic below shows how bridging the coverage gap would benefit working adults.

*Note: Wisconsin has declined federal funds to expand Medicaid. However, the state used its existing Medicaid program to partly close its coverage gap by raising eligibility levels to 100 percent of poverty, thus allowing more people to become eligible for health insurance (although it dropped health coverage for parents who had incomes above the poverty level).