When people enter the criminal justice system, states can suspend their Medicaid coverage. This is smart policy that makes it easier for people leaving incarceration to obtain quick access to health care.
The Obama administration recently took steps to help people leaving prison or jail get health coverage more easily. Last month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a long-awaited clarification regarding health coverage for people involved with the criminal justice system. Through this guidance, CMS seeks to expand health coverage options for those who’ve recently been released from incarceration.
With a majority of states expanding Medicaid, many more people stand to gain health coverage, including those recently released from jail or prison. States are re-evaluating their policies regarding Medicaid for incarcerated residents.
We’ve taken a closer look at what states have accomplished so far to get a better idea of how this has played out across states. We found that 34 states and the District of Columbia now have some form of policy to suspend Medicaid for people in prison or jail. Here, we explain why more states should adopt this policy.
With a majority of states expanding Medicaid, many more people stand to benefit, including people recently released from incarceration. States are re-evaluating their policies regarding the Medicaid coverage of incarcerated residents. Here we explain why states should adopt policies that make it easier to keep the justice-involved population enrolled in coverage and offer ideas for working with your state to implement those policies.
In recent months, there’s been an increased interest in improving access to health care for people who are recently released from incarceration or otherwise involved in the criminal justice system. While incarcerated, people generally cannot get access to health care through Medicaid or the marketplace. But when they are released, many are eligible. Assisters in a number of states are working to help what is known as “the justice-involved” population enroll in health coverage, both through the marketplace and in Medicaid.