Medicaid is a insurance program, which is designed to offer affordable health care for Americans with low incomes. Medicaid, while funded by both the federal government and the states, is administered by each individual state. As a result, Medicaid and its services vary from state to state, but each state is required to adhere to a number of federal regulations in order to receive federal funding.
In the United States, Medicaid is the largest source of medical insurance for people with low incomes, however there are still over 60% of low incomes people who do not qualify for Medicaid. Currently, coverage of nursing home costs is the most rapidly expanding part of Medicaid.
Medicaid has been around for 44 years and was established in 1965 as part of the Social Security Act. While today all 50 states participate in Medicaid, this has not always been the case. In fact, it was not until 1982 that all states had a functioning Medicaid program, with Arizona being the last state to enter into the Medicaid Program.
While many states use Medicaid as the name of their program, this is not required. In fact, many states have a special name for their services, such as Medi-Cal in California. A number of states also allow private insurance companies to administer their Medicaid Programs, with what are referred to as Medicaid Managed Care Plans. Vermont is one state, which allows a private insurance company to administer their Medicaid Programs.
In addition to allowing for private insurance companies to manage their Medicaid programs, it is not uncommon for a state to include a number of health programs under the same group as their Medicaid program. For example, a state might choose to allow their Medicaid Program and Children’s insurance program to be managed by the same branch of the government.
Since there is such a great deal of flexibility between states regarding how Medicaid is covered and administered, the plans often vary a great deal between states. However, the federal government has a number of requirements and rules that each Medicaid Program must follow. Failure to follow these federal regulations results in the loss of Federal Funding. The federal side of the Medicaid programs is administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services(CMS,) which as the name implies is also responsible for administering over Medicare.
As a result of each state having a slightly different Medicaid program, it is not possible to say how certain costs are covered or what the exact requirements for application are. However, all 50 states are required to approve or deny Medicaid Applications within 45 days of receiving the application, with 90 days given in the case of disabilities.
Medicaid is a very important service, which allows many single mothers, families, and individuals with low incomes to be able to afford quality medical care. Medicaid also covers the cost of visits to the dentist, as well as coverage of prescription medicines beginning in the 1990’s.