Plans for the Adults without Dependent Children Medicaid Program
By Aubrey Hill
Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved
The health care safety net should be there to catch us when we need it, but like any other net, it has holes. Colorado’s safety net for health coverage, Medicaid and CHP+, has traditionally focused on coverage for families, children, and those with disabilities, at the exclusion of many in need of coverage who may not fit into those categories. However, this is changing.
In April, Colorado’s Medicaid program will gradually begin rolling out new eligibility for low-income adults without dependent children. The program will only be available initially for those who have incomes below 10% of the federal poverty level, and will only be available for 10,000 people. The method of determining who will be a part of the 10,000 is random selection, as opposed to first come, first serve. All others who would otherwise be eligible will be put on a wait list.
Applications can be first submitted beginning April 1 of this year (but if received for processing earlier, the application will be denied), and the first random selection process will be run in mid-May. Each month thereafter, if there are spots that happen to open up on the Medicaid program, additional random selection processes will be run to keep the program filled.
This means that all estimated 49,511 adults without dependent children who live under 10% of the poverty level (single adults earning less than $100 a month, or a couple earning less than $122 a month) will continue to have a chance to get on the program after its initial roll-out. For more information about this program, check out these resources from the state Medicaid agency (HCPF).
While we think it is likely that this program will roll out as expected, these new decisions are still pending approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) at the federal level.
Also, encouraging people to apply for this new eligibility category, the hope is that more of them will receive the opportunity to receive other resources they are eligible for such as food and/or cash assistance and CICP. Assisting the newly eligible with their benefits and assisting the ineligible with applying for other services will be key to answering the needs of the entire population. To help Coloradans meet their needs outside of Medicaid, check out this list of statewide resources.
Colorado is leading the way for improving access to health coverage, by filling the holes in our safety net. This new program will help many Coloradans who need coverage get the care they need, when they need it.
Aubrey Hill is a Health Systems Analyst for the Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved.