Capitol Correspondence - 07.09.24

HHS Authorizes Medicaid and CHIP Coverage for Incarcerated Individuals Transitioning to Communities

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has approved Medicaid and CHIP demonstration projects for Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon, Utah, and Vermont. This initiative aims to ensure seamless health care coverage for individuals transitioning out of incarceration. These states join California, Massachusetts, Montana, and Washington in leveraging this option to expand access to high-quality, affordable health care. This development is particularly significant for the disability community, as 40% of those in state prisons have some form of disability. Ensuring continuous health care coverage addresses both the immediate and long-term health needs of these individuals, promoting better health outcomes and aiding in their successful reintegration into society.

These demonstrations will provide Medicaid and CHIP coverage up to 90 days before an eligible individual’s release, reducing coverage gaps and improving access to critical health services. The initiatives focus on addressing health issues such as substance-use disorders and chronic physical health conditions, which are prevalent among the incarcerated population.

The approval reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to health equity, ensuring that justice-involved individuals receive necessary support and services for a successful reintegration into their communities. HHS continues to work with other states to expand this model nationwide.

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