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Medicaid 2019: What To Watch For

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A recent online article from the Kaiser Family Foundation covered important Medicaid issues to watch in 2019.

Medicaid is a huge provider of health insurance coverage. This program covers about one in 5 Americans and is the largest payer for long-term care services. Medicaid is a source of ongoing health policy debates at both the federal and state levels.

Kaiser Family Foundation’s Predictions of Important Medicaid Issues To Watch in 2019

Medicaid expansion.

This was an important issue in last year’s mid-term elections and, so far, 37 states including D.C. have adopted the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid expansion. Medicaid expansion would extend Medicaid eligibility to uninsured adults and children with income at or below 138% of the federal poverty limit. This includes many living with mental illness. Watch for more states adopting the expansion in 2019; changes to state expansions; the outcome of the Texas litigation that ruled last month that the ACA is unconstitutional.

Medicaid waivers.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance a year ago that allows states to impose work requirements for Medicaid eligibility. To date, there are 7 states with work requirement waivers and 8 additional states with waivers pending CMS approval. Watch for CMS approval of pending waivers; litigation results from specific states; how the new waiver policies’ adoptions can help inform the debate.

Medicaid initiatives to address the opioid and substance use disorder crisis.

Medicaid covers 4 in 10 non-elderly adults who are addicted to opioids and facilitates access to treatment services and medications. Watch for new state initiatives to tackle this epidemic; states that adopt new options from the “SUPPORT Act” with its policies to prevent new addictions and expand access to treatment; how Medicaid expansion will affect these efforts.

Medicaid Financing for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Federal funding increased Medicaid support in these locations after the destruction of hurricanes Maria and Irma. This federal Medicaid financing support expires in September 2019. Watch for potential legislation to temporarily or permanently address these financing issues.

You can read the original Kaiser Family Foundation article here and learn more about these potential Medicaid changes and others such as public charge changes and payment and delivery system reforms.

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