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Medicaid Eligibility Policy for Aged, Blind, and Disabled Beneficiaries

Although federal law requires Medicaid programs to cover certain low-income people, states also have a variety of options that allow them to extend such coverage to aged, blind, and disabled people who do not qualify under mandatory coverage categories. This flexibility, coupled with the ability to use flexible methods for determining the countable value of income and resources, results in Medicaid eligibility policies for aged, blind, and disabled persons that vary substantially from state to state.

In this AARP Public Policy Institute Issue Paper, Brian K. Bruen, Joshua M. Weiner and Seema Thomas of the Urban Institute describe Medicaid eligibility policies for aged, blind, and disabled people in 2001. The following Medicaid eligibility categories for aged, blind, and disabled persons are addressed: (1) mandatory coverage categories -- SSI-related and Section 209(B); (2) optional coverage categories -- state supplemental payments, poverty-related, and medically needy; (3) coverage categories for people with disabilities; (4) eligibility pathways for long-term care services - institutional care, and home and community-based services waivers; and (5) assistance with Medicare premiums and cost sharing. The current state fiscal crisis makes additional eligibility expansion unlikely in the near term and may lead to eligibility reductions in some states. (46 pages)

For more information or to order copies, please contact the PPI Health Team at (202) 434-3890.

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