Easing Medicaid Re-enrollment Rules May Keep Children Out of Hospitals

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<p>Low-income children tend to rotate in and out of Medicaid coverage. Sometimes this churning occurs because of changes in family circumstances, but it is also a result of administrative rules--including the requirement that children frequently re-enroll--that can make it difficult for families to keep their children in public coverage programs.<Br><Br>A <a href="/publications/in-the-literature/2008/oct/medicaid-re-enrollment-policies-and-childrens-risk-of-hospitalizations-for-ambulatory-care-sensitive
">recent Commonwealth Fund-supported study</a> in <em>Medical Care</em> examined the impact of a policy change that extended Medicaid eligibility redetermination in the state of California from every three months to every 12 months. While reducing the frequency of these assessments was associated with higher costs, it also meant fewer hospitalizations for certain conditions.<br><br>The authors, led by Andrew Bindman, M.D., of San Francisco General Hospital, examined children in California who received Medicaid coverage between 1999 and 2002, before and after the state made the policy change. They found an increase in the number of children with uninterrupted health care coverage, a decrease in hospitalizations associated with ambulatory care-sensitive conditions, and an increase in overall program costs.</p>