The Wyoming health insurance landscape includes many avenues through which individuals and families may buy health insurance benefits. State residents without access to employer-sponsored coverage can shop for health plans in the private marketplace and through the federal marketplace exchange. Those who are eligible may apply for public health plans such as Medicaid and CHIP.
Wyoming and the Affordable Care Act
When the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) took effect and required most Americans to buy health insurance coverage, Wyoming elected to participate in the federally facilitated marketplace. When residents enroll in ACA-compliant health plans sold through the health insurance exchange, they can apply for income-based financial assistance that helps lower their monthly health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses for healthcare.
Only marketplace plans are eligible for income-based premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies. Individuals and families can find both marketplace, on-exchange plans and private, off-exchange plans at HealthCare.org. For those who qualify for financial assistance, HealthCare.org will connect them to the right exchange to complete their enrollment.
In Wyoming, the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) provides a way for employers with 50 or fewer full-time employees to offer healthcare benefits.
Medicaid expansion in Wyoming
While many states have expanded Medicaid to single, low-income adults since Obamacare took effect, Wyoming has not.
Wyoming residents that want to apply for Medicaid must meet certain eligibility criteria set by the state.
Wyoming’s Children’s Health Insurance Program, Kid Care, provides low-cost health insurance for eligible children. Information about Wyoming CHIP is available online.
In 2014 the United Health Foundation ranked Wyoming as the 25th healthiest state in America, a steep decline from the state’s 2008 ranking (14th).
What caused the slip in Wyoming resident healthiness? Occupational fatalities are extremely high, as well as low birthweight and not having enough primary care doctors to serve residents through the vast state. The strengths of a low crime rate, low childhood poverty and extremely low air pollution were not enough to keep the state out of the 20s rankings.