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Medicaid reach extended

Posted Jul 1st, 2008 by Patient Assistance Team
In one portion of a series of moves that will take over 100,000 residents off of the uninsured list, Maryland has increased the pool of those eligible for Medicaid.

The states initiative is also increasing coverage to children as well as assisting small businesses in offering coverage to employees. Other bills aim to lower prescription drug costs to seniors, possibly lowering drug costs across the board.

As the federal government has been slow to move toward universal health care, states are taking the necessary steps. While the Maryland motions aren’t as extreme as Massachusetts are, state officials say this is an important first step.

“This moves Maryland back into a leadership position that we had ceded for some time,” Said Maryland Health Secretary John M. Colmers regarding the new laws.

“Until the federal government acts, we are going to have to look for making important incremental changes when we can,” he added.

Maryland has a 14 percent uninsured rate – roughly 800,000 residents. While the state has some of the best coverage for children, its adult coverage is somewhat lacking.

The state covers children in families earning up to three times the poverty level. Still, about 140,000 Maryland children lack insurance. A new law aims to fix this problem. Parents will be required to answer whether their children have insurance or not. If not, the family will be sent Medicaid forms if they meet income requirements.

These initiatives, plus others to cover under 25 year-old adults, lower prescription drug costs and giving small businesses with less than nine employees who make an average of $50,000 or less subsidy assistance, are all important steps in furthering good health care practices in the state.