Expanding Wyoming Medicaid is an option encouraged by the Affordable Care Act and, according to a Wyoming Health Department report, expansion could save more than $47 million in state funds over six years.

Wyoming Health Department Director, Tom Forslund, says department analysis indicates the savings could come through expansion to those not currently eligible mostly through the offset of funds going to current programs.

"Based on our analysis- if there is full expansion- then we think we can bring all 28,000 people on to the Medicaid roles within the state with no additional state funds being required."

Forslund says a number of state funding programs would be discontinued and that money shifted to Medicaid.

The report describes both positive and negative impacts. Positives include reducing the uninsured rate and, in turn, reducing the amount of uncompensated care. The expected increase in federal dollars could create a higher demand for health care jobs. Negative impacts include a potential for health care provider shortages, while concern remains that the federal deficit will negatively effect future federal funding.

The net cost to the state of covering the mandatory groups is estimated by consulting group, Milliman, to be $79.4 million for state fiscal years 2014-20. With an additional 10,600 Wyoming individuals expected to enroll in Medicaid by 2016.

If Wyoming’s policymakers decide to further expand Medicaid to cover everyone under age 65 with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, the federal government will cover 100 percent of costs for newly eligible adult enrollees for the first three years beginning in 2014. The federal share would decline to 90 percent by 2020. Milliman’s best estimate is for 17,600 new “optional” enrollees if Wyoming fully expands Medicaid.