June 10, 2015

An increasing number of states are striving to connect released prisoners to healthcare programs on the outside. Frequently, that means enrolling them in Medicaid and scheduling appointments for medical services before they are released. Some state programs - in Massachusetts and Connecticut, for example - provide help to all outgoing prisoners. Programs in some other states are more targeted. Those in Rhode Island and New York, for instance, focus on ex-offenders with HIV or AIDS. Elsewhere, probation and parole are being used to encourage ex-offenders to adhere to certain treatments.

June 10, 2015

Starting in October, licensed counselors in Vermont may accept Medicaid payments even if their clients do not have mental health disorders. The state law is likely to expand access to treatment. Vermont's Department of Health uses a list of preferred providers for addiction treatment who are eligible for Medicaid reimbursement.

June 10, 2015

Growth in Medicaid coverage under the federal health law has helped hospitals in some states significantly lower the amount of debt from patients who don't pay their bills, according to a report by Moody's, but it's been a different story with Medicaid expansion in Minnesota, where hospitals traditionally

June 09, 2015

Some states have stepped up coverage for at least some adults on Medicaid. Virginia added a dental benefit for pregnant women in March. Colorado introduced limited adult dental coverage for the first time last year. Also last year, California, Illinois, Massachusetts and South Carolina reinstated benefits that had been cut in the years since the recession began in 2007. Indiana began offering expanded adult dental benefits this year.

June 08, 2015

According to a Harvard University study in Health Affairs, even in Kentucky, which championed the healthcare reform law by expanding Medicaid and running its own insurance marketplace, about half of poor people say they have heard little about the ACA. Awareness of Obamacare was even lower in Arkansas and Texas, two states that have not embraced the law as warmly. The study found 55% of those Texans and 57% of those Arkansans had heard little or nothing about the law’s extension of health coverage.

June 08, 2015

Over the past year nearly 90,000 Massachusetts residents, 10% of the total number of people receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, were cut from the program, largely as a result of an expanded caseload and business model changes that produced incorrect eligibility data and computer and phone system breakdowns. The business model was put in place in 2014 to address a claim from the federal government that the state overpaid $30 million in SNAP benefits between 2009 and 2011 by not properly reviewing client eligibility.

June 08, 2015

The Supreme Court rejected a request from Gov. Paul LePage (R) to review a federal appeals court decision that required Maine to continue providing Medicaid coverage to young adults until 2019. LePage had sought to discontinue Medicaid coverage for residents ages 19 and 20, arguing that young adults shouldn't receive coverage because they are "able-bodied" and can work.

June 05, 2015

The Florida House rejected a Medicaid expansion compromise that even supporters admitted had its flaws and was seemingly doomed to fail almost from the start. The bill, which tore apart the regular session as the House and Senate bitterly disagreed, was voted down after a nearly seven-hour debate during which nearly 60 lawmakers spoke. The vote came on the fifth day of a special session that was required after the House and Senate failed to pass a budget during their regular 60-day session. The two chambers were divided over healthcare, including whether to expand healthcare coverage.

May 28, 2015

The team of RTI International, The Urban Institute and the National Academy for State Health Policy researchers evaluated the planning process and resulting State Innovation Model plans of the 16 design and three pre-test states, assessing the states' ability to engage a broad array of stakeholders and design a plan that meets the goals of the SIM Initiative.

May 26, 2015

The federal government unveiled a long-awaited regulatory package that sets national standards for managed care under Medicaid, marking the biggest changes to the growing program in more than a decade. The rule contains instructions about what state Medicaid programs must do when hiring private health plans to handle long-term care for the elderly and disabled - also known as managed care.

May 25, 2015

A proposal aimed at promoting new ways to pay for the healthcare of low-income patients spurred a fierce political fight between insurers, consumer advocates, and one of the largest hospital systems in Massachusetts. At issue is whether the proposal would allow hospitals and health systems to essentially act as insurers in managing the care of patients covered by Medicaid.

May 25, 2015

Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island is touting early success in its program to address Medicaid subscribers with frequent and hefty medical bills. Aware that 7% of the Medicaid enrollees in the state account for two-thirds of spending, the insurer identified 450 of its "frequent utilizers" and formed caregiver teams to visit patients at their homes with the aim of reducing visits to the hospital. The Health@Home program's early success has led Neighborhood to predict savings of at least $2.7 million in its first year, while chief medical officer Dr.

May 19, 2015

Access to government-funded Medicaid, through the Affordable Care Act, will help reduce health care costs to cities, counties and states when inmates are enrolled in Medicaid during incarceration and prior to release. Warren Ferguson, MD, academic director of the University of Massachusetts Medical School's Health & Criminal Justice Program spoke to U.S. News & World Report about the policies in Massachusetts. 

May 18, 2015

This Families USA guide explains when in the waiver process advocates can have input to make sure the Medicaid Section 1115 waivers are as consumer-friendly as possible:

  • Early on as the legislation is being formulated and debated;
  • Throughout the waiver drafting and approval process; and,
  • After the program is up and running.
May 17, 2015

Enrollment in Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act has far surpassed expectations, leaving some conservative governors criticizing the system that will cost their states more than projected. More than 12 million people have signed up for Medicaid under Obamacare since Jan. 2014, in some cases reaching hundreds of thousands more than expected. Seven states, in particular, have had much larger-than-expected surges. By one estimate, the overrun is 1.4 million low-income adults.