The Changing World of Medicaid: Challenges & Opportunities Ahead

Health Care Concept. Doctor holding a jigsaw puzzle with MEDICAID word.

By: Christopher Plein, Ph.D. West Virginia University and MFLN Caregiving Concentration Team

Keeping up-to-date on Medicaid developments is important to those who provide support to military families and caregivers.  According to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, in July 2021 over 76 million individuals were covered by Medicaid in the United States. By this time, participation in the program had increased almost 20 percent from February 2020. The program provides healthcare coverage for those of all ages, but is especially important for low income and/or disabled children and seniors. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2019 Medicaid covered almost 20 percent of the U.S. population.

Military families may need to rely on Medicaid for a number of reasons.  Those with special health needs may qualify for dual coverage under TRICARE and Medicaid. Those separating from service may become eligible for Medicaid due to their income and health status. Those caring for aging family members may find that Medicaid will help provide support for long-term care in both institutional and home settings.

The past two years have seen important developments in Medicaid programming across the United States. Expanded Medicaid eligibility and special provisions have been instrumental in our nation’s efforts to address the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and its effects on individuals, families, and communities. We are beginning to see glimpses of what the post-pandemic healthcare landscape might look like.  No doubt, there will be continuing interest in promoting Medicaid “expansion” which for almost a decade has extended coverage to more and more individuals in many states.  We should also anticipate that greater attention will likely be given to long-term community and home based care for the elderly and the disabled.  Special “waiver” provisions allow states to provide this kind of care but demand often outstrips the availability of services. Now that COVID-19 has highlighted healthcare delivery options such as telemedicine and telehealth, there will likely be further focus on these and other approaches to care.

In recent years, our MFLN Military Caregiving concentration has provided webinars and blogs focused on Medicaid. This has included a webinar focusing on how Medicaid and Medicare have provided needed benefits and services during the COVID-19 public health crisis.  In the past we have also provided an overview of the Medicaid program and its relationship to military families through a webinar. Through blogs, we have also discussed how Medicaid touches on the lives of families in foster care, in relation to the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and in specific states.

On February 23, 2022 we will offer a webinar on “The Changing World of Medicaid” which will provide updates on recent Medicaid program developments and will consider potential developments for the future.  The webinar is designed for general audiences wanting to know more about Medicaid.  Our learning objectives are designed to:

  • Provide a general overview of the Medicaid program and how it is relevant to military families and communities.
  • Provide updates on Medicaid expansion efforts in the various states that has resulted in more coverage for eligible individuals and families.
  • Review developments with Medicaid waiver programs that provide home and community based services for those with disabilities and other care needs.
  • Explore how Medicaid is helping with the broader adoption of telehealth and telemedicine services in healthcare delivery.

We hope that you can join us for this session. Registration is free and you can find out more details on our MFLN Caregiving page at: The Changing World of Medicaid.

 

References

Kaiser Family Foundation. 2022.  State Health Facts: Health Insurance Coverage of the Total Population.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 2022. July 2021 Medicaid and CHIP Enrollment Trends.

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United States Department of Agriculture logo, a partner of the Military Families Learning Network