Medicaid planning lawyers know how important Medicaid benefits are to seniors and to people with serious health conditions. Medicaid is one of the primary payers of nursing home bills nationwide because typically neither Medicare nor private insurance covers nursing home costs. A nursing home is paid by Medicare and private insurers only if skilled medical service is required and only for a limited time. Medicare and private insurers do not pay for custodial care. As a result, many seniors depend upon Medicaid to pay their nursing home bills. Medicaid can also provide broader coverage at low cost or no cost for other medical conditions.
Because Medicaid benefits are so important to seniors and to people who are sick, it is a good idea to talk with an Oklahoma City Medicaid planning lawyer about qualifying for Medicaid coverage. It is also important to monitor any proposed changes in the program which could affect coverage or benefits.
News Oklahoma reported recently on Oklahoma policymakers considering different options for the Medicaid program in the state. Parman & Easterday can provide an explanation about possible changes to Medicaid benefits and help you ensure you can be covered when necessary.
Oklahoma Lawmakers Consider Medicaid Modifications
News OK indicated that Oklahoma policymakers considered many different ways to change the Medicaid program. One proposal involved cutting the rate of payment to providers by as much as 25 percent. On the other end of the spectrum were proposals arguing that Medicaid coverage should be expanded. While neither of these proposals were adopted by lawmakers, they do need to come up with solutions to fix issues with Medicaid in the state.
The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs suggested refocusing efforts to ensure Medicaid serves the truly needy more effectively. The Council of Public Affairs argues against expanding Medicaid coverage to able-bodied adults, and argues against throwing more money at Medicaid but instead has proposed different reforms.
One suggestion is to impose new and more robust audit requirements to make sure the people on Medicaid are actually eligible for it. Illinois improved its auditing process several years ago and reportedly found that close to 10 percent of the people enrolled in Medicaid were no longer eligible. They had failed to report they were now earning income which exceeded the limits for participation in the Medicaid program. Removing unqualified people from the Medicaid roles saved Illinois around $350 million annually. The Council argued that if Oklahoma conducted similar audits, it might save up to $20 million each year.
Another concern involved provider payments. Oklahoma lawmakers were told there is a risk rural hospitals will close because providers are not being paid enough at these facilities. There are too many people on Medicaid or Medicare and the hospitals are not receiving enough money since government programs pay much less for healthcare than private insurance.
One suggestion is to make adjustments to provider payments based on need. This would allow states to prioritize spending on critical care services, including rural hospital care, nursing home care, and primary care in rural environments.
Rural primary care providers, hospitals, and nursing homes serve a disproportionately high share of people on Medicaid, in large part because few if any other insurers provide coverage for nursing homes and because other kinds of insurance may be too costly for people in rural areas. Since these providers depend upon Medicaid and cannot make up for lower payments with higher payments from private insurers, they need more funding.
Protecting the ability of patients to get care, including nursing home care, is essential. Those who want to reform Medicaid need to consider what options will facilitate this goal.
Getting Help from an Oklahoma City Medicaid Planning Lawyer
An Oklahoma Medicaid planning lawyer can provide assistance in qualifying for Medicaid and in getting the benefits that you need for your care. We will keep you abreast of changes in the Medicaid program or qualification requirements and we will help you protect your assets while still receiving the Medicaid coverage to which you are entitled.