Medicaid: Providing Vital Health Coverage to Low-Income Adults - Families Usa Skip to Main Content

Medicaid: Providing Vital Health Coverage to Low-Income Adults

By Andrea Callow,


Medicaid serves many low-income Americans, including low-income adults. Before the Affordable Care Act, in most states, non-disabled adults who didn’t have dependent children were not eligible for Medicaid, no matter how low their income. And even though states covered parents through Medicaid, eligibility levels for parents were often extremely low—sometimes significantly below the federal poverty level.

Under the Affordable Care Act, states have the option to extend Medicaid to all adults with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level (about $27,720 for a family of three in 2015). And the federal government pays nearly all the costs of covering this newly eligible group. View our 50-state map to see where states stand on Medicaid expansion.

This fact sheet (PDF) explains that extending Medicaid to more low-income adults produces many benefits, including:

  • A healthier population
  • A healthier workforce
  • More insured parents, which is good for kids’ health and their success later in life
  • A stronger health care system
  • State budget savings
  • Economic growth

It is important to maintain the current federal Medicaid financing structure to help keep the program strong for all those who depend on it.