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Health Care in the State Budget

Jane McNichol

Posted 11/6/17

Here's a brief summary of major changes in state health care programs in the recently passed state budget (Public Act 17-2; Senate Bill 1502):

  • Cuts eligibility for Medicare Savings Programs to between 100% and 135% of the federal poverty level (FPL), effective Jan. 1, 2018. These programs use Medicaid funds to pay the costs of health care not covered by Medicare for low income residents. Previous eligibility levels were between 211% and 246% FPL. It is estimated that these changes will affect about 68.000 elderly and disabled residents of the state. Savings are projected at $20.5 million in state fiscal year 2018 and $65.1 million in state fiscal year 2019.
  • Reduces eligibility for parents in the HUSKY A program from 150% FPL to 138% FPL, effective Jan. 1, 2018. 9,500 parents are expected to be affected by this change. Federal law requires that these parents receive 1 year of continued Medicaid coverage so budget savings are mostly in the second year of the budget. Savings are projected at $500,000 in the state fiscal year 2018 and $11.3 million in state fiscal year 2019. 
  • Reduces Medicaid spending by $3 million in state fiscal year 2018 and $12 million in state fiscal year 2019 without specifying how these savings will be achieved. The plan for savings is believed to rely on adopting co-pays for Medicaid services. 
  • Caps Medicaid spending on non-emergency dental services for an adult at $1,000 per year. Exceptions are available for services deemed medically necessary.
  • Reduces reimbursement for primary care providers in Medicaid by $2.75 million in state fiscal year 2018 and $3.8 million in state fiscal year 2019. 
  • Permits the Department of Social Services to "offset" federal funding reductions (with state funds) for family planning services provided that the state legislature approves this use of state funds.