More than 270,000 Missourians became eligible for Medicaid under state expansion passed by voters in August 2020.

COLUMBIA - After a long legal battle, Missourians are currently able to enroll for Medicaid if they qualify under expansion.

Over 54% of voters voted to pass the expansion last August, but lawmakers failed to fund it in their regular session. After this, the issue was then brought to court, in which it was ruled that Medicaid expansion could begin.

In accordance with the original August ballot passed by voters, more than 270,000 Missourians became eligible on July 1. 

Those eligible under MO HealthNet for Expansion Adults are individuals:

  • Between the ages of 19-64,
  • Live in Missouri and are a U.S. citizen,
  • Make less than the annual income limit ($17,130 for one adult),
  • Do not receive any other DSS assistance,
  • Have, or have applied for healthcare coverage for any children in the home.

There are several ways for individuals to apply for Medicaid under expansion. The first step one can take is to head to the DSS website. There, one can fill out an application through the online portal, download and print the form or call 855-373-9994. 

A supplemental form is needed if you are age 65 or older, blind or disabled, get Social Security, live in a medical or nursing facility or have Medicare or VA health care

The final step is to submit the application over the phone, through the online portal, or emailed, mailed, or faxed to: 

The Family Support Division (FSD) of the Department of Social Services (DSS), began processing adult expansion applications on Oct. 1, 2021

As of Nov. 19, 2021, 18,488 Missourians have enrolled in MO HealthNet under adult expansion, roughly 6% of the expected Missourians eligible. 

Barbara Hoppe, president of the League of Women Voters, Columbia-Boone County, said this disconnect in enrollment is because there has not been enough awareness or information provided about the expansion. 

“We want everyone who's eligible for Medicaid and needs it, to get it. So what message do we need to get out?” she asked. “Well, we don't feel that the state is spending the necessary resources to get that message out.”

Hoppe says the League has taken matters into their own hands and has continued to inform and educate both members and non-members about enrollment under expansion.

The league distributed a flyer about expansion and eligibility in the hopes of getting numbers up. 

League of Women Voters Medicaid Expansion Flyer

Along with pamphlets and information, community outreach groups have worked to raise awareness for eligibility and enrollment. Hoppe said the Central Missouri Community Action Center recently hired two staff members to help with Medicaid expansion enrollment. 

“Call them at that number, 573-777-5208, and there will be people who can help you sign up and tell you if you're qualified,” Hoppe said. 

Another group doing community outreach is Powerhouse Community Development Organization in Columbia. The large organization has six locations across mid-Missouri, in Columbia, Marshall, Sedalia, Fulton, Moberly and Versailles.

Executive Administrator at the Columbia branch Erika Buford goes out in the community to advocate for adults who may have recently become eligible. 

“When we have over 200,000 people that became eligible for it [under expansion], and if not even a 10th of the people have enrolled, then the word needs to get out, and we're not getting it out to the people,” she said. 

She said when she tries to personally explain the situation to people they "become more interested," and ask, ‘Well, how can I get more information?' or 'How can I sign up for it?’

Buford said she sees a lot of people only going to the doctor out of necessity, but not for regular check ups. She said one demographic she has seen specifically impacted by expansion is young men.

Buford said advocates need to keep getting the word out, and those spreading information need to be sure they are following up and checking in. She said she hopes to at least see 30% to 40% of those 270,000 Missourians enroll, and said they must continue pushing forward. 

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