DHS: Extra cost of private option for health insurance expansion not high

      LITTLE ROCK (Arkansas News Bureau) -- Expanding health care coverage in Arkansas through the so-called "private option" would be less costly for the federal government than many have assumed, state Department of Human Services officials said Monday.

      In a meeting with reporters, DHS Director John Selig and state Medicaid Director Andy Allison said a new analysis shows that the private option, which they called the "premium assistance option," is estimated to be at most 13-14 percent more costly to the federal government than expanding the state Medicaid rolls -- and possibly no more costly at all.

      "People thought, 'Oh, there's this huge difference of as much as 50 percent,'" Selig said. "Not in Arkansas, from what the experts tell us. It's really close."

      Click here for more on this story from the Arkansas News Bureau.