A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

April is Medicaid Awareness Month!

April is Medicaid Awareness Month!

April 20, 2018

In April, advocates across the country mark Medicaid Awareness Month and celebrate the program that provides health coverage to millions, including eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults and people with disabilities.

Here in the Bay State, approximately 1.8 million people depend on MassHealth – the Commonwealth’s combined Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – to access the health care they need. From birth and well-child visits to annual physicals, substance use disorder treatment and long-term care, Medicaid is a lifeline across the lifespan.

In Massachusetts, adults up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line are now eligible to enroll in Medicaid, and 40 percent of children rely on MassHealth for coverage. Nationally, Medicaid pays almost $4 billion annually in school-based health services. Schools depend on these funds to connect students with vital health resources – 68 percent of school superintendents said that they utilized these funds to keep nurses, counselors, and speech therapists on staff.

Medicaid supports 61 percent of the Bay Staters who live in nursing homes and 33 percent of Massachusetts seniors and people with disabilities have health coverage through Medicaid. Medicaid helps many seniors pay for long-term care and support at home that allows them to continue living in their communities.

Medicaid coverage is at the forefront of the national effort to fight the opioid crisis. Nationally, Medicaid covers one in four Americans with an opioid use disorder. Here in Massachusetts, Medicaid pays for 49% of the Commonwealth’s buprenorphine expenditure, a medication used to treat opioid addiction.

For more on the many ways that Medicaid supports the health of vulnerable populations, please visit Community Catalyst’s blog:

The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation’s recent report MassHealth: The Basics provides an in-depth look at Massachusetts’ combined Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

During this Medicaid Awareness Month, all of us at Health Care For All re-commit ourselves to the urgent work of protecting Medicaid against ongoing threats and to raising awareness of the integral role this program plays in creating a future in which health care access is a reality for all.

-Natalie Litton