What the Senate Health Care Bill means for Medicaid

Among the many changes the Senate Health Care Bill would make to our health care system, the bill plans to make large cuts to Medicaid: $772 Billion in cuts to be exact. This figure will also cut approximately 15 million people from receiving Medicaid benefits by the year 2026. 

Here are the four main provisions that will affect Medicaid benefits:

1. Work Requirements

"States would be allowed to require Medicaid enrollees to have a job, look for work or participate in some kind of job training." This requirement grants exceptions for pregnant women, children, elderly, disabled, and adults caring for young children. 

2. Retroactive Eligibility

Previously, under Obamacare, once an individual were approved for Medicaid benefits, the previous 3 months of medical care would be reimbursed. This new bill would only allow for reimbursement for the calendar month in which they enrolled in Medicare. Considering how expensive hospitalization and other care can be, this had been a very important provision, especially for those with sudden onset disabilities. 

3. Presumptive Eligibility

Previously, certain health care providers were able to 'presume' Medicaid coverage and enroll individuals immediately; such as when being treated at a hospital. This prevented gaps of coverage and relieved stress of medical debt for patients while still allowing a secondary check on eligibility. 

4. Eligibility Re-determinations

Currently, eligibility is rechecked every year. The new bill will change the period of eligibility to 6 months. "This has a couple of consequences. First, it could more rapidly end the generous federal funding for Obamacare's Medicaid expansion; under the Senate plan, states lose that enhanced funding if a person cycles off the program for more than a month. More frequent eligibility checks are likely to lead to more people cycling on and off of Medicaid."

Additionally, "it risks more disruptions in a person's health coverage and a lapse in coverage if there is a paperwork problem."

You can read more about how the bill will affect Medicaid coverage from the original article here.