Under healthcare reform, Medicaid will expand to cover all individuals under 133% of poverty by 2014. Past experiences with implementing Medicare Part D and Massachusetts’ early experiment with healthcare reform suggest that without aggressive outreach and enrollment efforts, individuals with serious mental illness and substance use disorders (SUD) may remain uninsured despite being eligible for Medicaid. As states and mental health/SUD advocates plan for the Medicaid expansion, several new resources are available to assist with enrollment efforts:
- Expanding Medicaid to Low‐Income Childless Adults under Health Reform: Key Lessons from State Experiences. This Kaiser Family Foundation report finds that outreach should be targeted for newly eligible adults with chronic mental health conditions and/or with substance abuse problems, as they may be unable to complete the enrollment process without assistance. Effective examples are offered from several states.
- Ready, Set, Plan, Implement: Executing The Expansion Of Medicaid. This Health Affairs article examines decisions states will have to make about coverage in the Medicaid expansion plans and suggests elements to consider in order to ensure adults with mental illness receive appropriate disability benefits.
- Establishing and Maintaining Medicaid Eligibility upon Release from Public Institutions. This SAMHSA report describes a program in Oklahoma to assist inmates with mental illness with applying for Medicaid and/or disability benefits.
The National Council has published a fact sheet with additional information for behavioral health providers on enrollment in the Medicaid expansion. More Medicaid enrollment resources can be found on MentalHealthcareReform.org.