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12-Month Continuous Eligibility for Medicaid Can Improve Child Health Outcomes and Reduce State Costs

Missouri has experienced one of the steepest drops in Medicaid enrollment in the country. Although Medicaid is critical to the health of low-wage families and children, many Missouri families have lost their coverage in recent months, despite still being eligible. By allowing children to maintain coverage for a full year, Missouri can stabilize the enrollment of eligible families, improve children’s health, reduce state administrative costs, and enhance the state’s ability to measure the quality of care children receive in Medicaid through contracted managed care plans.

Medicaid’s State Option for Continuous Eligibility Strengthens Care

States can opt to provide children up to 19 years of age with twelve months of continuous eligibility for their Medicaid and CHIP programs, providing children consistent care without the need for the state to process additional paperwork. Implementing this policy in Missouri would:

  • Increase the continuity of care for children, resulting in improved health outcomes that have a lifetime impact;
  • Stabilize access to care for families who have fluctuating incomes, such as seasonal workers and farmers; and
  • Generate cost savings for Missouri by reducing both administrative and state-paid health costs that could have been avoided.
  • Enable the state to measure the quality of health care that children receive in Medicaid and CHIP through managed care plans that are contracted to deliver care.

Because of the multiple, proven benefits, 24 states have enacted 12-Month Continuous Eligibility in Medicaid, and 26 states use the policy for their CHIP population.

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