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Facts About the Medicaid Program and the People It Helps

Selected updates made November 2008

  • Six Things That You Might Not Know About the Medicaid Program (Pub ID: FS145), September 2005; updated November 2008 (PDF, 3 pages) - This AARP Public Policy Institute Fact Sheet provides key facts about the Medicaid program that demonstrate why the program is such an important part of the nation's health care system.
  • Myths about the Medicaid Program and the People It Helps (Pub ID: FS146), April 2005; updated November 2008 (PDF, 4 pages) - This AARP Public Policy Institute Fact Sheet provides the real facts surrounding nine common myths concerning Medicaid eligibility, services and beneficiaries.
  • Medicaid Optional Eligibility and Services: Options that Aren't Really Options (Pub ID: DD115R), September 2005 (PDF, 5 pages) - This AARP Public Policy Institute Data Digest describes the role of “optional” categories in providing acute care services through the Medicaid program, and provides examples of how individuals and families benefit from such optional eligibility and/or optional services.
  • Slicing the Long-Term Care Safety Net: Medicaid's Most Vulnerable at Risk (Pub ID: DD116), April 2005 (PDF, 4 pages) - This AARP Public Policy Institute Data Digest looks at the role of “optional” Medicaid categories in providing long-term care services for older people and those with disabilities lacking sufficient resources to afford these services themselves.
  • The Faces of Medicaid Long-Term Care Beneficiaries (Pub ID: FS114), April 2005 (PDF, 2 pages) - This AARP Public Policy Institute Fact Sheet presents vignettes as examples of common situations faced by Medicaid beneficiaries who receive long-term care services including nursing facilities, personal care, and HCBS waiver services.

Created in 1965, Medicaid is a federal and state-funded program that most people think of as simply a health insurance program for low-income Americans. Today, Medicaid is the largest public or private health insurance program in the United States; this year, 53 million people are expected to be enrolled. Medicaid covers two-thirds of nursing home residents, one in five persons under age 65 with chronic disabilities (including about 70 percent of poor children), one-third of all births, and half of spending for states' mental health services.

There are many myths about the program, about what it covers, and the people it helps, including the misconception that most Medicaid beneficiaries are on welfare. This set of five documents by the AARP Public Policy Institute aims to shed additional light on the Medicaid program - today's safety net for those who are unable to pay for their health and long-term care.

Additional information about the following Medicaid long-term care publications may be obtained from Mary Jo Gibson at 202-434-3896, and about other PPI Medicaid publications from Lynda Flowers at 202-434-3889.

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