April is Medicaid Awareness Month
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides essential health services to low-income families and individuals, pregnant women, children, and people with disabilities. It plays a critical role in promoting public health by ensuring access to healthcare services that prevent and treat illnesses, promote healthy behaviors, and reduce healthcare disparities. As we celebrate Medicaid Awareness Month in April, it’s important to recognize the significance of this program in providing healthcare access to millions of Americans.
This year’s Medicaid Awareness Month takes on added significance as we approach the end of the Public Health Emergency (PHE) brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The PHE has highlighted the critical role of Medicaid in providing healthcare access to underserved and vulnerable populations, and as we transition out of the PHE, it’s essential that individuals verify their eligibility for Medicaid and ensure that they have the coverage they need. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the benefits of Medicaid to public health, the role of Medicaid in addressing addiction and substance use disorders especially for medication-assisted treatment with drugs like buprenorphine-naloxone also know as suboxone, and the importance of verifying Medicaid eligibility.
Medicaid Covers Essential Services and Improves Outcomes
Medicaid’s coverage of essential health services makes it a critical program in promoting public health. Medicaid covers preventive services, such as immunizations, screenings for cancer and other diseases, and wellness visits. These services help detect illnesses early, when they are easier and less expensive to treat, and prevent the spread of diseases. For example, Medicaid’s coverage of vaccinations has been shown to improve immunization rates and reduce the spread of infectious diseases, such as measles and pertussis.
Medicaid also covers the treatment of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and asthma. These diseases are among the leading causes of death in the United States, and Medicaid’s coverage of these conditions helps to reduce mortality and improve the quality of life for individuals living with these diseases. Medicaid’s coverage of prescription medications and medical devices, such as insulin and inhalers, helps individuals manage their chronic conditions and prevent complications.
Medicaid’s coverage of maternal and child health services is also crucial. Medicaid covers prenatal care, childbirth, and postpartum care for women, as well as healthcare services for children, such as well-child visits, vaccinations, and dental care. Medicaid’s coverage of these services has been shown to improve birth outcomes and reduce infant mortality. For example, Medicaid’s coverage of prenatal care has been linked to a decrease in premature births and low birth weight infants.
Medicaid’s coverage of long-term care services, such as nursing home care and home health services, for people with disabilities and older adults helps individuals maintain their independence and improve their quality of life. Medicaid’s coverage of these services is particularly important as the population ages and the need for long-term care services increases
Medicaid is Critical for Substance Use and Mental Health Care
Medicaid also covers mental health and addiction or substance use disorder (SUD) services, including counseling, therapy, and medication-assisted treatment (MAT), such as suboxone. These services are critical for addressing the opioid epidemic and improving the mental health and well-being of individuals. Medicaid’s coverage of these services helps individuals access treatment that they may not otherwise be able to afford or access due to financial or other barriers. Not only does Medicaid cover the services of the treatment but also the life-saving medications like buprenorphine-naloxone (suboxone), naltrexone, and methadone.
Medicaid’s coverage of MAT has been shown to increase access to treatment and improve treatment outcomes, including reducing opioid use and overdose deaths. For example, a study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that Medicaid expansion was associated with a 6.1% reduction in opioid overdose deaths. Additionally, a study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment found that Medicaid coverage of substance use disorder treatment was associated with decreased hospitalization rates and decreased costs to society.
It is Vital to Verify Eligibility Today for Medicaid
As we approach the end of the PHE, it’s essential that individuals verify their eligibility for Medicaid and ensure that they have the coverage they need. Medicaid’s eligibility criteria vary by state, but generally, individuals must meet income and other eligibility requirements. To verify eligibility, individuals can visit their state’s Medicaid website or contact their local Medicaid office. For Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, folks can find more information on our website here.
It’s essential to verify eligibility because having Medicaid coverage can make a significant difference in an individual’s health outcomes. Medicaid provides access to essential services that individuals may not otherwise be able to afford or access due to financial or other barriers. Medicaid coverage can help individuals manage chronic conditions, access preventive services, and receive treatment (including medications) for mental health and substance use disorders.
Verifying Medicaid eligibility is particularly important as we transition out of the PHE. It’s important to verify eligibility to avoid losing coverage and potentially experiencing a gap in healthcare access to medication or services.
Individuals who are not currently eligible for Medicaid should also apply or explore other options for affordable healthcare coverage, such as Medicare, subsidized plans on the Health Insurance Marketplace, or employer-sponsored insurance. These options can help individuals maintain healthcare access and protect their health and well-being.
As we celebrate Medicaid Awareness Month, it’s important to recognize the critical role that Medicaid plays in promoting public health. Medicaid provides access to essential health services that prevent and treat illnesses, promote healthy behaviors, and reduce healthcare disparities. Medicaid’s coverage of preventive services, chronic diseases, maternal and child health, mental health and substance use disorder services, and long-term care makes it a vital program.
Regardless of ability to pay or Medicaid eligibility, if you or someone you know needs treatment for opioid use disorder or alcohol use disorder in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, or Vermont, please give us a call to start treatment today at 1-866-679-0831 or fill out this form and we will contact you at your convenience.
For more information:
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2021). Medicaid and CHIP: Strengthening Coverage, Improving Health. Retrieved from https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/benefits/immunization/index.html
The Kaiser Family Foundation. (2019). Medicaid’s Role in Addressing the Maternal and Child Health Epidemic of Substance Abuse. Retrieved from https://www.kff.org/medicaid/issue-brief/medicaids-role-in-addressing-the-maternal-and-child-health-epidemic-of-substance-abuse/
Saloner, B., Bandara, S. N., Bachhuber, M. A., Barry, C. L. (2018). Insurance Coverage and Treatment Use Under the Affordable Care Act Among Adults With Mental and Substance Use Disorders. JAMA Psychiatry, 75(3), 286-293. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.4609.
Meara, E., Golberstein, E., Zaha, R., & Greenfield, S. (2016). Use of hospital-based services among young adults with behavioral health diagnoses before and after health insurance expansions. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 70, 49-55. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2016.07.005.