Changes in Medicaid! What’s New for 2024?

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2024 is undoubtedly a year of changes for many U.S. assistance programs. Although many of the modifications are positive, some are not very favorable for those involved.

Medicaid Enrollment Cancellation

In January 2024, it was necessary to renew health coverage for about half of the people enrolled in the program. However, other citizens faced the news of cancellation of enrollment due to changes in participation guidelines that had been previously approved.

While in 2023, more than 1.4 million citizens lost Medicaid coverage for not meeting eligibility requirements, 2024 follows suit and so far this year, thousands of people no longer qualify for enrollment.

Alternatives to Changes in Medicaid Policy

Nevertheless, in response to this growing negative trend and exclusion of people who need affordable medical services, some states plan to implement an expansion of Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The ACA—also known as Obamacare—includes comprehensive health insurance reforms, which means that many low-income American families will have the opportunity to receive healthcare through this program if they are disqualified for Medicaid.

Moreover, social determinants of health (income, employment, housing, education level, transportation, access to healthy food, healthcare services) and the reintegration of people released from incarceration are significant factors in this process.

Therefore, factors such as housing instability and food insecurity are of primary concern to states in facilitating legislative initiatives and measures that promote the reentry of incarcerated individuals to ensure the continuity of Medicaid coverage after release.

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Following this line, another proposal expected to be implemented is to improve access to long-term services and supports (LTSS), which provides assistance to the elderly and people with disabilities or other physical or mental limitations.

Additionally, there is an intention to increase the behavioral health workforce in community settings and reduce administrative burdens at nursing centers.

What Will Ultimately Happen with Medicaid?

The federal government is the primary responsible party for assisting with the economic financing challenges faced by Medicaid. Meanwhile, as states establish budgetary guidelines for fiscal year 2025, the Medicaid program will have to deal with certain restrictions.

On one hand, it is expected that proposals will abound regarding maintaining Medicaid with the benefits promoted during the pandemic, as the American Rescue Plan Act established a series of measures to ensure that low-income individuals did not lose coverage of this medical assistance program.

However, it is not possible to confirm that this event will be implemented or that the legislative debate will follow a favorable course, nor can it be speculated that all these impending changes will be applicable this year or, alternatively, that it will be a gradual process that only starts in 2024. The changes, whether favorable or not, are yet to be seen…

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Haymé Santoya Rodríguez

Licenciada en Historia del Arte por la Universidad de Oriente. Investigadora en Casa de la Nacionalidad Cubana. Se especializa en estudios sobre artes visuales y cine cubano. Ha realizado trabajos de curaduría de arte así como conferencias, presentaciones de libros, conversatorios y disertaciones sobre su especialización. Se ha vinculado al periodismo digital desde el 2018.