Medicaid Law: What to Watch for in 2024

March 29, 2024

Background of Medicaid Law and Its Coverage

Dealing with government services can be complex and frustrating. Whether Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security, it’s hard to always get the right answers or any answers at all. Here at Davidow, Davidow, Siegel and Stern, LLP, we have years of experience as Long Island Medicaid lawyers and the knowledge to give you the right answers, the first time, to your questions. 

Medicaid is a government assistance program that helps people with long-term care.  It covers preventive services as well as long-term care services like nursing home and home care. It varies by state and is based on strict eligibility requirements.  As of 2024, Medicaid is the primary federal program that offers health and long-term care coverage. One in five, or 20%, of low-income people in the U.S. are covered. 

People often confuse the government programs of Medicaid and Medicare. Medicare is a separate federal entitlement program. People who receive Medicare can also apply for Medicaid benefits to cover Medicare premiums and services not eligible for Medicare coverage, like long-term and nursing home assistance. The rules to qualify for Medicaid are often based on highly individualized circumstances and can be complicated.  As elder care services grow increasingly more expensive, older people with health care issues who are not eligible now may become eligible later in life after they have spent their money.

Although Medicaid eligibility rules vary state to state, there are also certain basic rules that apply to everyone including income, asset and resource limits. The limits vary based on whether you are seeking nursing home or in-home care, but in either case they are intended to assist low income individuals.

How can you qualify if you are over the income and asset limits? By sitting down and strategizing with your Long Island Medicaid attorney, you can make sure your assets are protected while receiving the medical treatment you need such as nursing home or home care. Our Long Island Medicaid lawyers have been providing assistance for many years to individuals and families seeking to understand how they can become eligible for benefits.

What to Watch for in 2024

In March 2020, as part of COVID-19 relief enacted in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Congress voted to increase Medicaid funding to states. States had to meet several conditions to receive the federal funds, including a “continuous coverage” requirement that prohibited states from terminating most Medicaid enrollees’ coverage until after the end of the public health emergency, as determined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. During this period, state agencies could not remove anyone from the rolls unless they had left the state or died. This continuous coverage allowed people to continue to be covered during the pandemic. 

In December 2022, Congress passed an omnibus spending bill that unhooked the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement from the public health emergency and terminated the continuous coverage protection on March 31, 2023, allowing states to resume Medicaid coverage terminations effective April 1, 2023. This so-called “unwinding” of Medicaid continuous enrollment will continue to be the dominant Medicaid policy issue in 2024. 

It’s unknown to what extent Medicaid will be a predominant issue in the presidential election, but the debate about repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid work requirements, and federal financing for Medicaid could emerge as issues important to voters. In addition, as Medicaid is a major source of coverage for Blacks, Hispanics, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islander cohorts, lawfully present immigrants, low-income children, working-age disabled people, and those in need of long-term services and support, Medicaid may have implications for  2024 election issues. At the same time, many states have seen revenues decline recently, which could increase pressure to lower their spending on Medicaid and other programs. 

Here are some important questions to think about and watch for in 2024: 

  • Who will win the presidency and gain Congressional control, which will have major implications for Medicaid policy in the future?
  • How will the Medicaid unwinding affect Medicaid enrollment and changes in coverage, including increases in the number of people who are uninsured?
  • Will states adopt Medicaid coverage expansions in 2024, including Medicaid expansion or multi-year continuous eligibility for children?
  • How many states will advance new programs to use Medicaid to address health-related social needs?
  • How will state economic conditions and broader economic factors affect Medicaid spending as well as state and federal Medicaid policy?

Contact Davidow, Davidow, Siegel and Stern, LLP

Medicaid coverage for you and your family is a very important issue, and here at DDSS we can help you understand how that all plays out within your personal situation. Additionally, if you and your family are struggling to figure out how to deal with other issues in your future, including long-term health care, probate and estate planning and administration, fiduciary services, wills, and trusts, providing for family members with special needs, and similar issues, we are here to help and advise.

Many people avoid thinking about these things because they require you to address mortality issues that are unpleasant. But in order to protect yourself and your family, it is important to tackle these hard issues head-on sooner rather than later. Davidow, Davidow, Siegel and Stern, LLP, has been helping Long Islanders secure their futures for more than 100 years. Contact us today at 631-234-3030.