Medicaid is a state-administered program that receives federal funding and covers more than 55 million Americans. Each state sets its own guidelines regarding eligibility and services.
Medicaid does not pay money to those who are insured; instead, it sends payments directly to the health care providers. Depending on the state's rules, you could be asked to pay a small part of the cost (co-payment) for some medical services. Eligibility for a child is based on the child's status — and not the parent's.
While Medicaid has been framed as a program for the poor, not all low-income individuals are eligible for the program under current laws. Other requirements must be met including age (children must be under the age of nineteen years); disability; income and resources; and legal status as a citizen or a lawfully admitted immigrant.
The one fact that is true for all the fifty-one Medicaid programs across the country is that they are different from one another in everything from scope of service to eligibility. This makes it difficult to determine if children with asthma are getting the continuing care they need in each state to manage their asthma.
Changes could be ahead for families with an asthmatic child as states begin to recast their Medicaid programs and change the way they provide care. Many appear to be looking at adopting more disease management strategies and promoting better compliance with current preventive practices and treatment guidelines. But, this could also create more state programs that are even more variable than before.