Ever since the Affordable Health Care Act went into effect in 2010, and it was declared that each state would decide whether or not to expand Medicaid coverage, a certain segment of the population has been left in flux.
The Idaho Medicaid Redesign Committee was formed by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter to collect data and research all options. On Thursday, they held their second meeting. It was focused on population expansion, as well as forecasting the costs associated with growth.
"Right now, all across Idaho, thousands of people don't have access to health care coverage," said Lee Flinn, director of Idaho AARP advocacy.
A good portion of the effected population is older or people who are not yet eligible for Medicare. The problem is that they don't qualify to be part of the state insurance marketplace, nor can they rely on Medicaid.
There are several options on the table as far as the Medicaid redesign goes, all of which are rooted in figuring out how to fund Idaho's Medicaid program. Also being taken into consideration is who will receive what level of benefits.
One of the options provides funding for incident based, catastrophic care for those who have no way of paying for health-related services.
It's also being thrown out there to provide funding for direct primary care and a medical procedures fund. You must meet a set of qualifications in this scenario as well.
Another option provides funding for essential health benefits for all low-income adults within certain guidelines.
The first two options would draw from state and county taxpayer funds, while other would use a mixture of federal and state taxpayer funds.
"For people in this state who care about this issue and want to see Medicaid reformed and want to see more Idahoans have access to health care, one of the most important things they can do is to be in contact with their state legislators," Flinn said.
Redesign workgroup recommendations will eventually end up on Governor Otter's desk.
From there, the legislature will have the opportunity to pick up this issue in the upcoming session in January.
Anyone with questions is welcome to direct them to the Idaho AARP office at (208) 855-4038.