New Medicaid Plan In Arizona

Difficulties In Financing The Medicaid Program

Similar to several other states, Arizona now faces difficulties in financing its state Medicaid program. A new plan proposes to levy a fee of $50 for those adults without children who are smokers or obese. In a study conducted by the state, it was found that almost half the people covered under Medicaid plan are smokers while one in four beneficiaries are obese. However, the new plan must be approved by the federal government before its implementation.Status Of The Medicaid Program

According the state’s Medicaid program representative, Monica Coury, there has been a 30% increase in the number of enrolments while a 37% decrease in the general fund revenues since the year 2007. Arizona is one of the few exceptional states that cover childless adults under the Medicaid program. The state now proposes to make the enrolments close-ended based on the availability of funds. This implies that new enrolments will cease while there is a paucity of funds. When the state comes into additional money, the enrolments will be reopened. Under the present Medicaid program, the healthcare service providers receive a financial incentive for higher quantities without focusing on the quality.

The Reasoning Behind The New Rule

All states are facing a financial crunch to fund their Medicaid programs. However, the states are not taking any steps to curtail the rising financial burden. A new program in Maricopa County, employees are required to pay an additional $450 if a swab test results positive for the presence of nicotine. Several studies prove that there is a direct correlation between smoking and obesity and healthcare expenses. Although, there are several people who criticize the fee as a discrimination against obese people, the authorities state that coverage under the Medicaid program is provided to 1.35 million people. If the new rule is implemented the authorities feel that the additional financial fee will result in a positive change in the behavior of individuals.

No Additional Charges For Other People

There are several questions related to the effects of the policy on individuals under other categories. However, the state authorities have clarified that other people, such as the disabled population, expectant mothers, the senior citizens, and children will continue to enjoy the same coverage as is presently available to them. However, there is a possibility of making exceptions in certain medical ailments like cancer. The new rule will be implemented only for those healthy individuals who are able to control their weight.

Derivation Of The $50 Fee

The new rule proposes to charge an additional $50 fee per annum that will be payable by smokers and obese individuals. Although, the authorities have not done a calculation on the additional amount chargeable. The aim is to see the efficiency and the effectiveness of the new policy. Healthcare costs for covering obese people are a substantial amount and the authorities want to control the expenses during a time when the state is unable to fund its Medicaid program.