April is Medicaid Awareness Month! Medicaid is a vital health insurance program that helps over 70 million Americans access life-sustaining healthcare. Children, pregnant woman, and people with limited income can access high-quality, inexpensive (or free) healthcare through their various state Medicaid programs. Through Medicaid, these underserved populations can get the help they need, in a timely manner. This month, we recognize the positive impact Medicaid has had on these vulnerable populations, while being mindful of the work needed ahead to address inequities in healthcare and healthcare access as well as social determinants of health.
As of March 2022, approximately 3.5 million Pennsylvanians – 1 in 4 of our fellow citizens – were enrolled in Medicaid, also known as Medical Assistance. Medicaid covers over 1.4 million children. Enrollment in the program is at an all-time high. In January 2020, Pennsylvania’s Medicaid enrollment was 2.8 million people, representing a 23 percent increase between January 2020 and now. Here, we highlight the many faces of the Medicaid program in our state.
Medicaid does much more than provide health insurance to millions of underserved people. It is also a lifeline for persons with disabilities who rely on Medicaid to remain in the community. In Pennsylvania, the Home and Community Based Services (also known as “Waiver”) programs provide people with disabilities access to home health care, personal assistance services, transportation, home modifications, and many more supports. Without these services, many Pennsylvanians would be forced into nursing homes or other facilities. Thanks to Medicaid Waivers, though, these people can get the care and support they need to live full, healthy lives at home.
In 2015, Pennsylvania adopted the Medicaid Expansion allowed under the Affordable Care Act, resulting in approximately 1 million additional Pennsylvanians qualifying for the program. This expansion addressed a glaring need for low-income adults who need healthcare but are not offered, or cannot afford, insurance through their employer. See our Medicaid Eligibility Manual for a full overview of Medicaid eligibility in Pennsylvania, including who qualifies and how to apply.
The Pennsylvania Health Law Project (PHLP) has been at the forefront of Pennsylvania’s Medicaid issues and policy for decades. Medicaid provides a safety net for our most vulnerable populations, and PHLP ensures that all eligible people stay enrolled in Medicaid and get the care they need. When Medicaid insurers deny services to their members, we represent those individuals in their appeals to help fight for the services they need. Additionally, while Medicaid can be a lifeline for eligible people, applying for and enrolling in the program can be overwhelming and fraught auth red tape. If you are uninsured and have questions about Medicaid eligibility, or if you are on Medicaid and have received a denial of eligibility or services, please call our statewide Helpline at 1-800-274-3258. We are here to guide you on your legal options so that you can get the Medicaid coverage and services you need and deserve.