Iowa officials are asking the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to waive the requirement that the state provide three months of retroactive Medicaid coverage to eligible Medicaid recipients. CMS is currently accepting comments about this proposal.
Medicaid law allows a Medicaid applicant to be eligible for benefits for up to three months before the month of the application if the applicant met eligibility requirements at the earlier time. This helps people who are unexpectedly admitted to a nursing home and can’t file a Medicaid application right away.
Iowa’s amendment proposes “eliminating the three-month period of retroactive eligibility for all Medicaid beneficiaries effective for new applications or new add-on requests.” Medicaid would pay only for care starting the first day of the month of the application. The senior advocacy group Justice in Aging warns that if CMS accepts Iowa’s proposal, not only will low-income Iowans be harmed, but other states may decide to follow suit, affecting low-income recipients nationwide. CMS is accepting comments on this waiver until September 7, 2017. Justice in Aging has sample comments available. The Iowa Health Care Association said it knows of no other state for which CMS has taken away this benefit.
For a Des Moines Register article on Iowa’s request and local opposition to it, click here.