Medicaid Eligibility and benefits
As of 2013, Medicaid is a program intended for those with low income, but a low income is not the only requirement to enroll in the program. Eligibility is categorical—that is, to enroll one must be a member of a category defined by statute; some of these categories include low-income children below a certain wage, pregnant women, parents of Medicaid-eligible children who meet certain income requirements, and low-income seniors. The details of how each category is defined vary from state to state.
People with disabilities who do not have a work history and who receive Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, are enrolled in Medicaid as a mechanism to provide them with health insurance. Persons with a disability, including blindness or physical disability, deafness, or mental illness can apply for SSI. However, in order to be enrolled, applicants must prove that they are disabled to the point of being unable to work. In recent years, a substantial liberalization occurred in the field of individual disability income insurance, which provides benefits when an insured person is unable to work because of illness or injury (HIAA, pg.13).
Some states operate a program known as the Health Insurance Premium Payment Program (HIPP). This program allows a Medicaid recipient to have private health insurance paid for by Medicaid. As of 2008 relatively few states had premium assistance programs and enrollment was relatively low. Interest in this approach remained high, however.
Included in the Social Security program under Medicaid are dental services. These dental services are optional for adults above the age of 21; however, this service is a requirement for those eligible for Medicaid and below the age of 21.[clarification needed] Minimum services include pain relief, restoration of teeth, and maintenance for dental health. Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) is a mandatory Medicaid program for children that aims to focus on prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. Oral screenings are not required for EPSDT recipients, and they do not suffice as a direct dental referral. If a condition requiring treatment is discovered during an oral screening, the state is responsible for taking care of this service, regardless of whether or not it is covered on that particular Medicaid plan.
Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare)
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, would have revised and expanded Medicaid eligibility starting in 2014. Under the law as written, states that wished to participate in the Medicaid program would be required to allow people with income up to 133% of the poverty line to qualify for coverage, including adults without dependent children. The federal government would pay 100% of the cost of Medicaid eligibility expansion in 2014, 2015, and 2016; 95% in 2017, 94% in 2018, 93% in 2019, and 90% in 2020 and all subsequent years.
However, the Supreme Court ruled in NFIB v. Sebelius that this provision of the ACA was coercive, and that the federal government must allow states to continue at pre-ACA levels of funding and eligibility if they chose. Several states have opted to reject the expanded Medicaid coverage provided for by the act; over half of the nation’s uninsured live in those states. They include Texas, Florida, Kansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. As of May 24, 2013 a number of states had not made final decisions, and lists of states which have opted out or were considering opting out varied, but Alaska, Idaho, South Dakota, Nebraska,Wisconsin, Maine, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Oklahoma seemed to have decided to reject expanded coverage.
Several factors are associated with states’ decisions to accept or reject Medicaid expansion in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Partisan composition of state governments is the most significant factor, with states led primarily by Democrats tending to expand Medicaid and states led primarily by Republicans tending to reject expansion.Other important factors include the generosity of the Medicaid program in a given state prior to 2010, spending on elections by health care providers, and the attitudes people in a given state tend to have about the role of government and the perceived beneficiaries of expansion.
The federal government will pay 100 percent of defined costs for certain newly eligible adult Medicaid beneficiaries in “Medicaid Expansion” states. The NFIB v. Sebelius ruling, effective January 1, 2014, allows Non-Expansion states to retain the program as it was before January 2014.
As of January 2014, confirmed opting out states include Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia & Wisconsin. States opting in after 2014 are Indiana & Pennsylvania. On July 17, 2015, Governor Bill Walker sent a letter to the Alaskan state legislature, providing the required 45-day notice of his intention to accept the expansion of Medicaid in Alaska.
States may bundle together the administration of Medicaid with other programs such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), so the same organization that handles Medicaid in a state may also manage the additional programs. Separate programs may also exist in some localities that are funded by the states or their political subdivisions to provide health coverage for indigents and minors.
State participation in Medicaid is voluntary; however, all states have participated since 1982 when Arizona formed its Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) program. In some states Medicaid is subcontracted to private health insurance companies, while other states pay providers (i.e., doctors, clinics and hospitals) directly. There are many services that can fall under Medicaid and some states support more services than other states. The most provided services are intermediate care for mentally handicapped, prescription drugs and nursing facility care for under 21-year-olds. The least provided services include institutional religious (non-medical) health care, respiratory care for ventilator dependent and PACE (inclusive elderly care).
Most states administer Medicaid through their own programs. A few of those programs are listed below:
- Arizona: AHCCCS
- California: Medi-Cal
- Connecticut: HUSKY D
- Maine: MaineCare
- Massachusetts: MassHealth
- New Jersey: NJ FamilyCare
- Oregon: Oregon Health Plan
- Oklahoma: Soonercare
- Tennessee: TennCare
- Washington Apple Health
- Wisconsin: BadgerCare
As of January 2012, Medicaid and/or CHIP funds could be obtained to help pay employer health care premiums in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, and Georgia.
Comparisons with Medicare
Unlike Medicaid, Medicare is a social insurance program funded at the federal level and focuses primarily on the older population. As stated in the CMS website,Medicare is a health insurance program for people age 65 or older, people under age 65 with certain disabilities, and (through the End Stage Renal Disease Program) people of all ages with end-stage renal disease. The Medicare Program provides a Medicare part A which covers hospital bills, Medicare Part B which covers medical insurance coverage, and Medicare Part D which covers prescription drugs.
Medicaid is a program that is not solely funded at the federal level. States provide up to half of the funding for the Medicaid program. In some states, counties also contribute funds. Unlike the Medicare program, Medicaid is a means-tested, needs-based social welfare or social protection program rather than a social insurance program. Eligibility is determined largely by income. The main criterion for Medicaid eligibility is limited income and financial resources, a criterion which plays no role in determining Medicare coverage. Medicaid covers a wider range of health care services than Medicare.
Some people are eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare and are known as Medicare dual eligibles. In 2001, about 6.5 million Americans were enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid. In 2013, approximately 9 million people qualified for Medicare and Medicaid