Despite tight budgets, nearly all states maintained or made targeted expansions or improvements in their Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP) eligibility and enrollment rules in 2010, preserving the programs’ ability to provide coverage to millions of low-income Americans who otherwise lack affordable options, according to a new survey released today by the Washington, D.C.-based Kaiser Family Foundation’s Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured (KCMU).
The 10th annual KCMU 50-state survey of Medicaid and CHIP eligibility rules, enrollment and renewal procedures and cost sharing practices, this year conducted with the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, found that coverage policies held steady or in some cases expanded, particularly for low-income children. However, eligibility for their parents and other low-income adults continued to lag behind. The stability of such programs during a recession that has produced sharp increases in unemployment and declines in state tax revenues arises in large part from the temporary federal fiscal relief for Medicaid provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).
That enhanced federal assistance, which will end in July, was tied to requirements for states to maintain Medicaid coverage policies. To help provide a base for the future Medicaid expansion, the health reform law also requires states to maintain public coverage for adults until broader health reform goes into effect in 2014 and until 2019 for children. However, in the coming year states continue to face significant budget pressures as demand for the programs remains high and state revenues continue to be depressed amidst the slow economic recovery.