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Medicaid enrollment grows since exchanges opened

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Updated: 4/10 2:54 pm

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- As people have been enrolling for health insurance through the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, enrollment is also underway for Medicaid.

Nearly half a million signed up in several states since enrollment started on the exchanges.

Medicaid is considered coverage under the Affordable Care Act, so those who can't afford insurance even through the exchange, may get covered through Medicaid.

As people have either tried to enroll on the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange alone or with help from local assisters at designated locations, some have found they actually qualify for Medicaid because of their small income.

Medicaid medical coverage counts as being covered under the Affordable Care Act, so those who qualify can't use the exchange to enroll.

Like other states, Nevada is expected to have a large number of people signing up.

"The whole purpose of the Affordable Care Act was to make sure that everyone had medical coverage regardless of their ability to pay. For those lower income individuals whose income falls below 138 percent of the poverty level, the way they were anticipated to get health insurance was through medicaid," said Jon Sasser is the statewide advocacy coordinator for Legal Services in Nevada.

Governor Sandoval approved Medicaid expansion last year, saying it would save Nevada around $16 million. The expansion now includes covering more people than in years past. This only adds to the increase on the Medicaid rolls.

"One that had never been eligible for Medicaid before, despite the fact that they were so low income. tTat's primarily lower income parents and childless individuals. And then second, people that were always eligible for Medicaid but just had never applied because they weren't sick at a particular moment or time, but now with the individual mandate there is an incentive to go ahead and apply," Sasser said.

And the governor's office estmates as many as 78,000 people will enroll in Nevada.

The state says the numbers are not in yet from October, but are expected to be ready by next week.

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