Medicaid, by design, is meant to help individuals who lack traditional means to access full-service private insurance plans, whether it’s older adults whose Medicare plans don’t go far enough to serve their unique care needs or younger individuals on a fixed income or living below the poverty line who find care to be cost-prohibitive. It stands to reason that these populations would face inherent challenges related to cost, accessibility, and provider engagement when they get sick; however, these are only a few of the challenges faced by Medicaid patients.
Medicaid accounted for over 18 percent of healthcare cost expenditures in 2020 and over 17 percent of the US population is covered by the program with over 78 million total people projected to be enrolled in 2022. For these reasons and others, it’s imperative that we understand the barriers that Medicaid patients face in their daily and long-term care journey. Medicaid can safely be considered America’s public health insurance program, the mechanisms and benefits of which should continue to evolve over time with cultural shifts as it always has. This evolution begins with knowing what patients need in healthcare.
While each state’s Medicaid offerings will vary, based on population, budget, and other factors, there are several fundamental challenges that Medicaid recipients throughout the country continue to face, which include: