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How Is New York Strengthening Its Medicaid Program?

Medicaid – Beginning next year older, disabled and blind New Yorkers can make up to 138% of the federal poverty level and still qualify for taxpayer-funded health care coverage.

That would increase the maximum monthly income for those groups from $934 a month to $1,563 a month, reports WBFO’s recent article entitled “New York State budget expands Medicaid eligibility for older adults.”

The maximum assets those groups can have and still qualify will also nearly double, from $16,800 to $28,134. For couples, the allowable maximum assets will go up from $24,600 to $37,908.

Medicaid is a federal and state program that helps with healthcare costs for those with limited income and resources.

Medicaid also offers benefits not normally covered by Medicare, including nursing home care and personal care services.

The primary difference between the two programs is that Medicaid covers healthcare costs for people with low incomes, while Medicare provides health coverage for the elderly.

Under the current limits, many people must spend-down much of their assets to qualify for Medicaid. However, younger recipients, who are not subject to an asset test, also lose their coverage once they move into the older, disabled, or blind categories.

The increase will help protect those who have some retirement savings from being forced to totally deplete their income and assets, in order to qualify for Medicaid.

One in three New Yorkers, or roughly 7.4 million people, are currently on Medicaid. That number has increased by about a million since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

That is when the economic recession made more people eligible and federal laws barred states from terminating coverage for most enrollees during the public health emergency.

In December, the state Division of Budget had projected enrollment to return to pre-pandemic levels of just over six million by 2024.

The state already has the second-largest Medicaid budget of any state in the nation, with total spending at $72.8 billion in 2020. Only California, with a $97.8 billion Medicaid budget, spent more.

Reference: WBFO (April 24, 2022) “New York State budget expands Medicaid eligibility for older adults”