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Medicaid Moving Ahead in Uncertain Times: Results from a 50-State Medicaid Budget Survey for State Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) commissioned Health Management Associates (HMA) to survey Medicaid directors in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to identify and track trends in Medicaid spending, enrollment, and policy making. This is the 17th annual survey, each conducted at the beginning of the state fiscal year from FY 2002 through FY 2017. Additionally, eight mid-fiscal year surveys were conducted during state fiscal years 2002-2004 and 2009-2013, when a large share of states were considering mid-year Medicaid policy changes due to state budget and revenue shortfalls. Findings from previous surveys are referenced in this report when they help to highlight current trends. Archived copies of past reports are available on the following page.1

The KFF/HMA Medicaid survey on which this report is based was conducted from June through September 2017. The survey instrument (in the Appendix) was designed to document policy actions in place in FY 2017 and implemented or adopted for FY 2018 (which began for most states on July 1, 2017).2 The survey captures information consistent with previous surveys, particularly for eligibility, provider payment rates, benefits, long-term care, and managed care to provide some trend information. Each year, questions are added to address current issues.

Medicaid directors and staff provided data for this report in response to a written survey and a follow-up telephone interview. The survey was sent to each Medicaid director in June 2017. All 50 states and DC completed surveys and participated in telephone interview discussions in July, August, and September 2017. The telephone discussions are an integral part of the survey to ensure complete and accurate responses and to record the complexities of state actions.

The survey does not attempt to catalog all Medicaid policies in place for each state. The focus is on changes in Medicaid policy and new initiatives that are planned for FY 2018. Experience has shown that adopted policies are sometimes delayed or not implemented, for reasons related to legal, fiscal, administrative, systems or political considerations, or due to delays in approval from CMS. Policy changes under consideration without a definite decision to implement are not included in the survey. The District of Columbia is counted as a state for the purposes of this report; the counts of state policies or policy actions that are interspersed throughout this report include survey responses from the 51 “states” (including DC). Given differences in the financing structure of their programs, the U.S. territories were not included in this analysis.

Administrative Challenges, Priorities, and Conclusion Glossary

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.