Medicaid – Eligibility
Topics I plan to cover in this series of Personal Finance Basics include (but not limited to): Financial Planning, Investing, Insurance, Income Tax, Retirement, Benefits (entitlements and company benefits), spending, saving, and giving, to start.
In this post, I will be discussingMedicaid
Medicaid is the United States health program for certain people and families with low incomes and resources. It is a means-tested program that is jointly funded by the state and federal governments, and is managed by the states. People served by Medicaid are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, including low-income adults, their children, and people with certain disabilities. Poverty alone does not necessarily qualify someone for Medicaid. Medicaid is the largest source of funding for medical and health-related services for people with limited income in the United States.
Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that provides health coverage or nursing home coverage to certain categories of low-asset people, including children, pregnant women, parents of eligible children, people with disabilities and elderly needing nursing home care. Medicaid was created to help low-asset people who fall into one of these eligibility categories "pay for some or all of their medical bills." There are two general types of Medicaid coverage. "Community Medicaid" helps people who have little or no medical insurance. Medicaid nursing home coverage pays all of the costs of nursing homes for those who are eligible except that the recipient pays most of his/her income toward the nursing home costs, usually keeping only $66.00 a month for expenses other than the nursing home. While Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) set out the general rules under which Medicaid operates, each state runs its own program. Under certain circumstances, an applicant may be denied coverage. As a result, the eligibility rules differ significantly from state to state, although all states must follow the same basic framework.
Having limited assets is one of the primary requirements for Medicaid eligibility, but poverty alone does not qualify a person to receive Medicaid benefits unless they also fall into one of the defined eligibility categories. According to the CMS website, "Medicaid does not provide medical assistance for all poor persons. Even under the broadest provisions of the Federal statute (except for emergency services for certain persons), the Medicaid program does not provide health care services, even for very poor persons, unless they are in one of the designated eligibility groups."
There are a number of Medicaid eligibility categories; within each category there are requirements other than income that must be met. These other requirements include, but are not limited to, assets, age, pregnancy, disability, blindness, income and resources, and one's status as a U.S. citizen or a lawfully admitted immigrant. Special rules exist for those living in a nursing home and disabled children living at home. A child may be covered under Medicaid if she or he is a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident. A child may be eligible for Medicaid regardless of the eligibility status of his or her parents or guardians. Thus, a child can be covered by Medicaid based on his or her individual status even if his or her parents are not eligible. Similarly, if a child lives with someone other than a parent, he or she may still be eligible based on his or her individual status.
Coverage and Utilization
One-third of children and over half (59%) of low-income children are insured through Medicaid or State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The insurance provides them with access to preventative and primary services which are utilized at a much higher rate than for the uninsured, but still below the utilization of privately insured patients. As of February 2011, a record 90% of children have coverage. However, 8 million children remain uninsured, including 5 million who are eligible for Medicaid and SCHIP but not enrolled.
Children enrolled in Medicaid are individually entitled under the law to comprehensive preventive and restorative dental services, dental care utilization for this population is low. The reasons for low utilization are many, but a lack of dental providers who participate in Medicaid is a key factor. Group dental practices are some of the few dentists who accept children and adults insured with Medicaid. Few dentists participate in Medicaid – less than as half of all active private dentists in some areas. Low reimbursement rates, complex forms and burdensome administrative requirements are commonly cited by dentists as reasons for not participating in Medicaid.
Next post will discuss Medicaid Prescription Drugs
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