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Current Flexibility in Medicaid: An Overview of Federal Standards and State Options

The Trump Administration and new Congress have indicated that they will seek to cap Medicaid financing through a block grant or per capita cap, reduce federal funding for the program, and offer states increased flexibility to manage their programs within this more limited financing structure. The size of the federal reductions as well as which federal program standards would remain in place and what increased flexibility might be provided to states under such proposals would have significant implications. To help inform discussion around increased flexibility, this brief provides an overview of current federal standards and state options in Medicaid and how states have responded to these options in four key areas: eligibility, benefits, premiums and cost sharing, and provider payments and delivery systems.

Aligning Eligibility for Children: Moving the Stairstep Kids to Medicaid

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that Medicaid cover children with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) ($31,322 for a family of four in 2013) as of January 2014. Today, there are “stairstep” eligibility rules for children. States must cover children under the age of six in families with income of at least 133 percent of the FPL in Medicaid while older children and teens with incomes above 100 percent of the FPL may be covered in separate state Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP) or Medicaid at state option. While many states already cover children in Medicaid with income up to 133 percent FPL, due to the change in law, 21 states needed to transition some children from CHIP to Medicaid. This brief examines how the transition of children from CHIP to Medicaid will affect children and families as well as states. The brief also looks to New York and Colorado for lessons learned from the early transition of coverage.

An Introduction to Medicaid and CHIP Eligibility and Enrollment Performance Measures

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently established 12 new Medicaid and CHIP eligibility and enrollment performance indicators for states to report beginning in October 2013. These indicators provide insight into the performance of new eligibility and enrollment policies established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In December 2013, CMS released initial reports for a subset of the indicators. This brief provides an overview of the new performance indicators; the initial data; and the opportunities and challenges associated with reporting, analyzing, and interpreting the data.

Medicaid and CHIP Coverage In An Era of Recession and Health Reform

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’ important role of providing coverage to millions of low-income Americans who otherwise lack affordable options. This stability in large…

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