Sunday, March 10, 2013
Experts point to outreach and provider incentives as key factors in reaching enrollment goals.
Sunday, March 10
In order to meet the state’s target of enrolling more than 100,000 new residents in an expansion of Medicaid, state officials, private healthcare providers and citizen advocates will have a great deal of work ahead of them this year. That was the message offered by healthcare policy experts who participated in a panel discussion hosted yesterday In Trenton by NJ Spotlight. Medicaid is the federal government’s primary health-insurance program for low-income residents. It is being expanded under the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Among the chief challenges in implementing the expansion are the difficulty in reaching a population which includes many people who don’t know they are eligible for the program; the strain additional patients may create …
Sunday, February 24, 2013
New report from New Jersey think tank fails to find downside to increasing Medicaid coverage.
New Jersey would save more than $6 billion in healthcare spending over the next nine years, if Gov. Chris Christie opts to expand Medicaid eligibility, according to a report released by a think tank Thursday. New Jersey Policy Perspective calculated that the state would accrue the savings because the federal government would be picking up the tab for both new and current participants in two Medicaid programs. The first, General Assistance, covers childless adults with less than $2,520 a year in income. The state pays 50 percent of the medical costs for 40,000 participants in this program. The second, FamilyCare, is meant for poor adults and their dependent children. To qualify, a family of four must earn no more than $30,725 a year. The …
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
But GOP lawmakers question how to pay for program to help families with cost of aiding elderly.
Caregivers struggling with the cost of aiding older relatives would receive tax relief under a bill that is advancing in the Legislature. The bill, AA-3404, would provide up to $675 in tax credits for individuals and couples who provide care for a family member who is at least 60 years old and lives in the home of the caregiver. A Medicaid waiver the state received last year aims to encourage more seniors to live at home longer and stay out of nursing homes. But there is concern that there will be fewer at-home caregivers available, since insurance companies are reducing reimbursement rates for them. As a result, more families are expected to have to provide care themselves for their elderly relatives. The tax credit would help ease some …
Sunday, December 2, 2012
Advocates argue that expanded eligibility is a bargain and a 'no-brainer,' even when state is paying its full share.
A report issued this week by the Kaiser Family Foundation sees little impact to New Jersey for expanding Medicaid eligibility -- at least in the early years of enrollment. For instance, it will cost an additional $15 million in 2016, the third year of the expansion. By 2022, the state will see an additional $273 million in costs, according to the state-by-state analysis by Urban Institute researchers. The expansion would add 291,000 state residents to Medicaid, at a cost of $938 per new enrollee . The report “shows what we thought all along: it’s a cost-effective means [of extending coverage] for a lot of people who don’t have it now,” said Jeff Brown, coordinator of policy advocacy and communications for New Jersey Citizen Action, a …
Monday, November 26, 2012
Senate panel urges Christie to increase eligibility for low-income program.
Advocates for expanding eligibility for Medicaid in New Jersey are attempting to make their case in financial terms, but it remains to be seen whether they’ve developed enough evidence to convince a skeptical Gov. Chris Christie. Several policy experts endorsed a resolution that was advanced by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee on Monday that urged Christie to support the expansion. Committee Chairman Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex) sponsored the resolution. Ray Castro, senior policy analyst for New Jersey Policy Perspective, said the expansion is “financially a great deal” because the federal government would cover the entire cost of the expansion for the first three years, before the state share would …
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Whether the state can afford to extend Medicaid to adults without dependent children depends on who's doing the math.
While the future of the Affordable Care Act seems brighter with the re-election of President Barack Obama, the same can't be said for one of its provisions -- Medicaid expansion -- at least not in New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie casts his shadow over its prospects. The governor has already expressed his skepticism about expanding the program, citing its impact on the state's already overburdened budget. Ultimately, his decision will determine the number of New Jersey residents who are eligible for Medicaid. The ACA lets states decide for themselves whether to take advantage of federal funds to increase the size of their Medicaid rolls. Given New Jersey's divided legislature, the call is Christie's: will the state accept Medicaid …
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Senate panel hears emotional testimony on potential harm to children, elderly and disabled.
A state Senate committee has moved to set up roadblocks in the face of reimbursement cuts planned by HMOs that oversee New Jersey’s Medicaid program. Often-emotional testimony by health-care providers and workers helped convince the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee that cuts by Horizon NJ Health and the other HMOs would hit services for the frail elderly, children with disabilities and other vulnerable populations. The committee already was inclined to act as its chairman, Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex) sponsored legislation -- S2241 -- with Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) to require state administrative approval before the HMOs can lower reimbursements. Weinberg declared that the issue is of “increasing …
Monday, April 9, 2012
Human Services updates lawmakers on NJ plans to move Medicaid patients from nursing homes to managed care.
New Jersey’s fate in its Medicaid waiver application was the center of attention in the Statehouse yesterday, as the state’s top human services official testified before the Assembly to the cost and the policy benefits of the state winning approval in the lengthy process. State Department of Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez, testifying on her proposed 2013 budget before the Assembly Budget Committee Wednesday, said she expects a response shortly from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services on New Jersey’s application outlined in the state’s comprehensive Medicaid waiver, which officials said will both allow the state to get more federal Medicaid dollars and spend the money more wisely. New Jersey could receive …
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Medicaid providing $40 million to entice initial investments in electronic medical records.
New Jersey announced a milestone Thursday in the long journey to convert the state’s hospitals and physicians to electronic medical records: Nearly $40 million in federal incentive funds is flowing this week from Medicaid to the first 70 healthcare providers in New Jersey to go digital. Over the next decade, state officials estimated that 3,000 providers would receive up to $500 million in Medicaid incentive payments to help defray the cost of installing the computers and software that will maintain patient records -- prescription medications, lab tests, exams, surgery -- in digital files that ultimately will be accessible via the Internet, anywhere in the world. That sounds like a lot of money, but Colleen Woods, who heads the state …