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CMS Renews Medicaid Waiver, Low Income Pool in Florida

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently approved Florida’s Medicaid waiver, allowing the state to keep users on managed care contracts while also continuing a fund that helps hospitals to pay off uncompensated care under the program.

The new waiver that was renewed is essentially a continuation of the previous waiver approved in 2014. With the agreement, the administration of President Donald Trump announced it would fund Florida’s hospital low-income pool through 2022 with $1.5 billion per year. The state received that amount for 2017 after initially expecting only $600 million from the Obama administration.

According to a representative from CMS, this renewed program will enable the state to care for more vulnerable citizens while also giving it the flexibility to use funds in a way that meets the Florida’s specific needs.

Decision comes with some controversy

The low-income pool has been the subject of controversy over the years. Obama-era administrators questioned whether such a pool was needed, as the state also had the option to simply expand Medicaid. Had this expansion occurred, the state could have drawn up to $51 billion in federal Medicaid money over the course of a decade.

Realizing this, CMS began to decrease funding for the low-income pool, going as low as $600 million (from $1 billion) in 2015.

However, Florida Governor Rick Scott is against expanding Medicaid, and now with a president and secretary of health and human services who are also looking to slash Medicaid spending, a return to higher levels of funding in the low-income pool was the route the state opted to go.

To learn more about how these changes could impact your healthcare and Medicaid planning, contact an experienced Florida estate planning attorney with The Charles Law Offices.

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