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posted on August 07, 2012 16:30
 
Analyst Laura Summers of Leavitt Partners talks through what the health care consulting firm has discovered so far about low-income adults in Idaho who would become eligible for Medicaid if the state decides to expand eligibility requirements.
About 100,000 low-income Idaho adults would become newly eligible if the state expands its Medicaid coverage, according to consultants hired by the state.

The Leavitt Partners presented a preliminary review of its data and analysis Monday, August 6, at the first meeting of the governor’s workgroup to evaluate whether Idaho should opt to expand Medicaid eligibility.  The governor formed the 15-member workgroup, headed by Department of Health and Welfare Director Richard Armstrong, to analyze the advantages and liabilities of expanding Medicaid coverage to low-income adults under the Affordable Care Act.  A recent Supreme Court decision allows states to decide if they want to expand Medicaid eligibility to low-income adults beginning in 2014.
 
The Leavitt Partners health care consulting firm has been working on an analysis for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare since April, when the department contracted with the firm to help it determine the health needs and demographics of the newly eligible. When the report is finished in mid-September, it also will include information about a possible benefits package for the expansion population.

 
From left, Mike Baker, president of the Idaho Primary Care Association's boad of directors, Dan Chadwick, Idaho Association of Counties, and Dr. Ted Epperly, Family Medical Residency of Idaho, listen as Gooding County Commissioner Tom Faulkner makes a point in Monday's meeting. Nurse practitioner Beth Gray is on the right.

The firm looked at state-specific data from Idaho’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and at four programs to create its picture of the newly eligible population in Idaho: the County Indigent and the Idaho Catastrophic Health Care Cost programs, Idaho Community Health Centers, Idaho Adult Mental Health Services and the Department of Correction. By analyzing participants in each program, Leavitt Partners was able to come to some general conclusions. The newly eligibile are likely to:

  • Be childless adults who haven’t had regular access to healthcare;
  • Have significant and chronic health conditions;
  • Have prevalent mental health issues; and
  • Be relatively poor with incomes below 100% of the federal poverty level (<$11,170/year for single person household.) 

The final Leavitt report isn’t due until Sept. 10. Even so, the firm presented its initial findings to the workgroup to help it decide what it will recommend. You can see the slides from that presentation here.

A date has not been set for the workgroup’s next meeting, but it will be after Sept. 10 so members have the final report.

The Medicaid group is the second of two health care committees Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter appointed. The first met Aug. 2, and is tasked with evaluating the state’s insurance exchange participation.