One in three children nationwide rely on health services provided through Medicaid. Politicians from at least five states have threatened to withdraw from the Medicaid program, and nearly all state governments have taken or are currently considering steps to reduce their Medicaid costs.
While states are prevented from redefining eligibility standards to exclude currently eligible children, they may eliminate coverage for services not specifically required by federal Medicaid regulations, like prescription drugs, dental care or therapy services. Mississippi, for example, has already cut benefits for children with mental health conditions and disabilities like Down syndrome and cerebral palsy.
Kendra Huglin has Down syndrome and she explained to lawmakers that she soon hopes to become independent, but would rely on weekly check-ins as a safety net for crisis help. But the current plans in Idaho would cut those benefits.
Advocates are concerned that they may lose the last bit of funding they receive from Kansas state grants, about $3.5 million, which Gov. Sam Brownback has indicated he may cut from the 2012 budget. More than 300 recipients who depend on the grants because they aren't eligible for Medicaid would suddenly be without any government support, according to Starkey officials.
GAO's analysis of data showed children with Down syndrome received, on average, five times more outpatient care (such as care in an urgent care facility) and over two times more office-based care (such as care in a physician's office) than children without Down syndrome. In addition, children with Down syndrome have an increased risk of certain medical conditions and were hospitalized, on average, nearly twice as often and stayed twice as long as other children. The total average medical expenditures for children with Down syndrome were an average of five times higher than those for other children. However, both total expenditures and the difference in expenditures decreased substantially as the two groups of children reached 3 years of age.
How to Apply for Medicaid:
- Understand that Medicaid is a state-run program that provides medical insurance. Each state has different eligibility requirements and different application procedures.
- Know that if you receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income) from the Social Security Administration, you will probably qualify for Medicaid, but you can also get Medicaid without having SSI.
- Recognize that there have been recent limits placed on this program at the federal level, so the benefits are not as wide as they used to be.
- Contact your local state Department of Social Services or Human Services to apply. Your state may have a different name for this agency. It is the agency that provides food stamps and financial assistance. Call your county building and ask for the name of it if you don't know it.
- Ask for a Medicaid application. You will need to complete it and they will arrange an interview to review your application.
- If you are denied you have the right to appeal the decision. Many people have experiences where they are not approved on the initial request but on the 2nd or 3rd appeal.