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Medicaid & The Healthcare Debate in America

/ June 23, 2017

 

Medicaid is by far one of the single most far-reaching aspects of the healthcare debate that should not be ignored by employers.  For a certainty, the effect of the proposed caps and reductions on federal Medicaid funding will touch just about every employer. I can hear your thoughts- Medicaid? Yes, Medicaid!

Consider: Medicaid and CHIP cover 20% of all Americans including:

  • 2 in 5 children
  • 1 in 2 low-income individuals
  • 2 in 5 people with disabilities

As an employer, you employ individuals who fall into one or more of these categories and therefore are affected by what happens if Medicaid funding is reduced or capped. What could happen?

Employees with children on CHIP will evaluate moving their children back into the employer health plan. While children add overall good risk to a health plan through frequent well-visits, they also add costs if you are currently providing an employer subsidy of dependent coverage.

Individuals receiving coverage under Medicaid will  mean additional costs in the form of employer subsidies as well as potential costs in the form of claims experience. It goes without saying that this situation is compounded with regard to individuals with disabilities.

A larger concern not to be overlooked is the employee who has to enroll themselves or their dependent but cannot afford to do so. This individual may very well choose the plan carrying the lowest payroll deduction from his employer, but is that the solution? Not when that employee later realizes that the lowest costing plan carries high out of pocket costs at the point of service which they cannot afford to use.

Again, I encourage all employers to filter out the daily onslaught of the rhetoric surrounding the healthcare debate. However, when it comes to Medicaid, employers should definitely sit up and take notice.

SOURCES:

Medicaid and CHIP cover 20% of Americans: https://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/9047-figure-2.png

 

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