Medicaid is constantly reviewing and updating its policies, but many beneficiaries find that it is comparatively rare for Medicaid to update its policies in a way that is truly beneficial to them. Often, “updates” simply make things more complicated.Learn more about recent changes to Medicaid that will surprise you.5 Changes to Medicaid1. The Home and Community-Based Services Plan Has Been ExpandedPreviously, the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) plan was only offered through waiver programs. The most recent updates to Medicaid, however, provide home and community-based services as part of the regular plan. This means that individuals who qualify for Medicaid can receive in-home services that will make it possible for them to remain at home longer or community-based services that are much more comfortable than nursing homes as part of their regular care routine.2. Care Coordination and Case Management BenefitsThe demands of a chronic condition can be overwhelming. For many elderly individuals, it’s impossible to simply list all of the medications they take, much less keep up with the tests and procedures that they’ve undergone. Care coordination and case management ensures that everyone who is treating a given patient is on the same page and that the patient is receiving quality care for all of their conditions, not just the one covered by a specific doctor at a specific moment.3. Community First Choice (CFC) PlanThe CFC state plan gives enhanced federal funding to help provide support and services to individuals who would otherwise require institutional care. These services are designed to provide necessary support to individuals who, without it, would find themselves in high-care level institutions. Providing other elements of care in place of institutional settings is beneficial to both the patient and the program, as it allows them to maintain their quality of life longer and permits the provider to save money in the process.4. Money Follows the Person (MFP)The MFP program is designed to assist individuals who are no longer in need of the services provided within institutions. These funds help them to transition back to their community and independent living when institutional care is no longer required. In many cases, a lack of funding kept people in institutions long past the time when they could have returned home with the benefit of proper care, so this provision has truly been designed with the quality of patient care in mind.5. Community-based Long-Term Services and Support (LTSS) FundingCommunity-based LTSS care allows many individuals to maintain a higher quality of life and enjoy interaction with other individuals in their situation. The new provisions have increased funding for states that help increase access to these programs, encouraging a shift toward community-based services instead of institutional care in many states.These provisions will be of great benefit to many aging individuals, particularly those with chronic health conditions who wish to remain in their homes for as long as possible. As their need for care increases, they’ll be able to access the services that they need instead of either accepting care that they don’t want in the form of an institutional setting or putting off care that they need because they can’t afford it.
These changes to Medicaid policy will likely be the first of many as it becomes necessary to make changes in order to sustain the program.What changes to Medicaid surprised you the most? What questions do you have about these changes? Share your thoughts on Medicaid in the comments below.About the AuthorBenny Lamm is a communication specialist and blogger at Senior Planning Services, an industry leader in helping seniors and their families achieve Medicaid-sponsored long-term care. He enjoys playing the guitar, spending time with family and social networking.Related Articles:What the Future Holds for Medicaid6 Financial Planning Mistakes to AvoidGuide to Financing Senior Care