ALABAMA (WHNT) — The Alabama Hospital Association says it’s working to address a healthcare coverage gap that’s affecting thousands of people statewide leaving many without health insurance.

According to the Alabama Hospital Association, 300,000 people fall into the healthcare coverage gap. These are working Alabamians who find themselves in this unique situation, which is partly because Alabama is one of ten states that has not expanded Medicaid to adults without children or disabilities.

“Unfortunately a lot of people in the coverage gap are working, they make too much for Medicaid but not quite enough to afford private health insurance coverage on their own,” said Debbie Smith with Alabama Arise, a non-profit organization focusing on underprivileged communities across the state.

Parents or caregivers in Alabama must make less than $4,000 annually to qualify for Medicaid, meaning those without dependents or disabilities do not qualify.

Smith is the non-profit’s director for its Cover Alabama Campaign. She says there is a range of benefits for the state if it were to expand its Medicaid program.

“The federal government is going to give us more funding in order to run that program it’s also going to create jobs about 20,000 new jobs in the state and save us billions of dollars and of course increase that workforce participation rate,” Smith told News 19.

She says investing in Alabama’s health could mean big payoffs in the long run. That’s because when people in the coverage gap go see a doctor, it ends up costing hospitals thousands in uncompensated care.

The Alabama Hospital Association has been tasked with designing a plan that will work to close the gap.

Dr. Don Williamson with the AHA says they’re not pursuing a traditional expansion of Medicaid, but more so a design plan that will align with the specific situations Alabama is experiencing.

“What we’re looking for is an Alabama solution to an Alabama problem and doing that using unique circumstances in Alabama that let us take advantage of coverage that we already have in the private sector in the public sector and bring those together,” Williamson said.

With more than a quarter million people across the state working without health insurance, the Alabama Hospital Association’s CEO says they know the positives that can come out of expanding Medicaid.

“Overall, there’s some huge advantages to closing this coverage gap number one if you look at this states where that’s been done the health of the citizens improved cancers are diagnosed earlier diabetes are diagnosed earlier and patients are healthier,” Williamson said.

For those in need of health care without health insurance, Thrive Alabama and Happi Health along with Central North Alabama Health Services are some of the local organizations that can assist.