The number of Arkansas residents signing up for federal Supplemental Security Income benefits has dropped 19% since October 2013, which some state officials are attributing to expanded Medicaid eligibility.
First-time applicants decreased from 17,497 to 14,160 through early last week, according to state data.
Arkansas is providing subsidies to individuals with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty threshold to purchase private health plans through the exchange under a model of expansion backed by Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, and Republican lawmakers. More than 190,000 Arkansas residents qualified for the expanded coverage through the end of July.