The Health Care System in West Virginia

West Virginia has successfully implemented Medicaid expansion and Obamacare, but its residents still face some health challenges. Factors like public health funding, socioeconomic indicators, legislative positions and disease management, play a role in the state’s level of health. West Virginia and the federal government run a partnership exchange. The state uses Healthcare.gov as the portal for residents to choose healthcare plans.

West Virginia has taken a proactive approach to the expansion of Medicaid and used an auto-enrollment process to determine individuals’ eligibility, by cross-referencing lists of people who are using other state benefit programs. As of the 22nd of February 2015, the number of residents who were enrolled in qualified health plans via the exchange, was 33, 421. According to HHS, 86% of them had obtained premium subsidies.

The use of federal funds to increase Medicaid eligibility to 138% of poverty, played a major role in the success of Obamacare in West Virginia. It was estimated that 53% of West Virginia’s uninsured population would be eligible for expanded CHIP or Medicaid, and another 23% would qualify for tax credit subsidies to buy their own coverage in the exchange. Medicaid enrollment continues throughout the year, so it is expected that the number of residents enrolling will only continue to increase. This will reduce the uninsured rate in the state.

West Virginia is also one of the states with the highest proportion of Medicare beneficiaries. The state has a high percentage of residents who are eligible for Medicare, because of disability. Medicare spending in the state is around $9,332 yearly per enrollee. $3.5 billion is spent every year.

Residents can enroll Medicare Advantage plans, as these plans provide extra benefits. In 2014 alone, 24% of West Virginia Medicare recipients chose a Medicare Advantage plan. Around 51% enrolled in Medicare Part D to get prescription drug benefits.