Health Care Reform for Poor and Uninsured Americans

Apr 7th, 2010 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Social Security & Medicare

Here’s another highlight of the new health-care legislation… millions of Americans will now be eligible for Medicaid services. These health care services are generally—but not exclusively–offered by community health centers, publicly funded and nonprofit clinics. Millions of poor and uninsured citizens will now have health care.

The new health care bill will provide $11 billion more to serve the medical needs of poor American citizens.

In addition, Medicaid eligibility is raised from 100% to 200% (depending on size of family) of the poverty level (e.g., $29,300 for a family of four at 133% of the poverty level). Such a move is likely to result in more people seeking preventative care rather than emergency room response to a crisis that could have been avoided. The increased percentage of people being served means 16 million more indigent people are now eligible for Medicaid.

Many groups of people are now covered by Medicaid. Requirements include age, whether or not you are pregnant, disabled, blind and aged. Applications include identifying your income and resources (bank accounts, property you own and other items that can be sold). Citizenship or lawfully admitted immigrant status is also a requirement.

States are allowed to determine the rules for income level and resources. And there are unique rules for seniors living in nursing homes and disabled children living at home.

Many seniors today are caring for their grandchildren or children of extended family members. The child may be eligible even if you are not, because your income and resources don’t count for the child’s status.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services encourage seniors to apply for Medicaid if they have limited income and resources. The application process required a caseworker to evaluate your situation and determine if you qualify for Medicaid.

Most in the public limelight admit the new health care legislation is far from perfect, but it is a beginning and it gives people more options for health care than ever before in the history of our country.



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