Medicaid Expansion Considerations For States Regarding Newly Eligible Jail-Involved Individuals
Author: Stephen A. Somers, Elena Nicolella, Allison Hamblin, Shannon M. McMahon, Christian Heiss, Bradley W. Brockmann
The expansion of Medicaid eligibility to Americans with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level should greatly increase access to coverage and services for people recently released from jail and, thus, improve health outcomes and reduce recidivism in this population. The population is disproportionately male, minority, and poor; suffers from high rates of mental and substance abuse disorders; and is expected to make up a substantial portion of the Medicaid expansion population. To ensure connections to needed services after release from jail, states could help inmates determine their eligibility and enroll in Medicaid; take advantage of federal grants to automate systems that determine eligibility; and include a robust array of behavioral health services in Medicaid benefit packages. In most states, new partnerships between Medicaid and corrections agencies at both the state and local levels will be needed to support these activities.