As the first wave of healthcare insurance enrollment ends as part of the Affordable Care Act, observers are quick to comment on the changes enacted by the law. In addition to millions who took advantage of insurance sold in private marketplace exchanges, there has also been a significant increase in Medicaid participants–both in New York and nationwide.
According to a New York Times report last week, across the country there are now over 62 million Americans receiving some Medicaid support. The increase is more targeted in states like New York that specifically took advantage of options in the Affordable Care Act that allow for expansion of the program.
Importantly, much of the discussion about healthcare exchanges and Medicaid expansion refer to general health insurance coverage–not necessarily care that includes long-term support for the elderly.
However, there is one aspect to the expansion that will have ripple effects on all future Medicaid policy discussions–data collection. In the past, the data collection procedures for these programs slow in coming and often incomplete. As a result, policymakers considering various changes to the overall program were working off generalities or outdated information. Researchers note that, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services typically took over two years to publish data on enrollment.
But a component of the Affordable Care Act called for a far more streamlined procedure which has made data collection easier. As a result, we are getting accurate enrollment numbers now, years earlier than in the past. This ultimately may influence future Medicaid policy. Researchers and policy experts may better understand the specific needs of participants–like a growing long-term care shortfall–and respond accordingly.
Need Help Applying for Medicaid in New York?
Many local families are understandably confused by the New York Medicaid application and qualification process. The expansion of the program in recent years, coupled with “crackdowns” in order to save funds, paints a complex picture of the system. It is often not clear to New York residents what they need to do to qualify for support, and, once enrolling in Medicaid, what specific benefits they can expect to receive.
All of this is made more complicated in certain unique situations, particularly those involving seniors seeking Medicaid for help with long-term care. Seniors are more likely to have assets–like a family home–that they wish to protect and pass on to adult children. Because Medicaid is a financial need based program, families need to take special steps to protect assets from being “spent down” to qualify for the program.
An elder law attorney can explain what makes sense in your specific situation and help carry out that plan. Contact the NY Medicaid attorneys at our firm today to get started. Timing is critical in these matters, and the earlier you plan for this need, the better.