SOURCE: Foundation for Health Coverage Education

Foundation for Health Coverage Education

December 20, 2010 15:38 ET

CoverageForAll.org Cites "10 Best Funded" & "10 Worst Funded" States in Providing Government Health Insurance Assistance

Where People Live Has Big Impact on Government Health Coverage Received With California, Arizona and Georgia Ranked Least Generous

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwire - December 20, 2010) - Although debate continues in regard to the federal government taking on a stronger role in health coverage, Americans who need help paying for gap health care coverage -- due to unemployment or inability to afford private insurance -- should be aware that Medicaid, the well-known government health insurance assistance program, has varying covered services, eligibility requirements, and funding levels depending on the state, according to the Foundation for Health Coverage Education (FHCE) www.CoverageForAll.org.

"With 1 in 5 Americans on Medicaid at any given time, it's important to understand that the state where you live has a big impact on if and when assistance will be available if you need it," said Phil Lebherz, FHCE Founder and Executive Director.

The FHCE, a nonprofit organization with a mission to educate Americans about available public and private coverage options, has ranked the states to show how Medicaid differs from state to state. The data is provided by the Kaiser Family Foundation whose website's database at www.statehealthfacts.org includes extensive financial information on the expenditures per Medicaid enrollee of the fifty states and the District of Columbia. From this listing, the FHCE has culled out 10 highest funded and 10 least funded state Medicaid programs.

The 10 states with the highest Medicaid enrollee funding are as follows:

State   Medicaid Enrollees*   Medicaid Payment Per Enrollee*   Total Federal Medicaid Payment**
1. Rhode Island   195,400   $8,796   $ 1,834,227,212
2. New York   4,954,600   $8,450   $47,618,463,035
3. District of Columbia   164,900   $7,932   $ 1,445,734,028
4. Alaska   120,800   $7,815   $ 890,169,313
5. New Jersey   954,000   $7,814   $ 9,425,126,545
6. Minnesota   785,600   $7,700   $ 6,977,657,315
7. Massachusetts   1,402,500   $7,490   $10,821,588,261
8. Connecticut   530,300   $7,357   $ 4,543,549,844
9. North Dakota   69,400   $7,288   $ 534,431,274
10. Pennsylvania   2,090,200   $7,159   $16,299,966,377

The 10 states with the least Medicaid enrollee funding are as follows:

State   Medicaid Enrollees*   Medicaid Payment Per Enrollee *   Total Federal Medicaid Payment**
1. California   10,511,100   $2,701   $38,747,885,430
2. Arizona   1,455,800   $3,066   $ 7,506,329,319
3. Georgia   1,685,000   $3,560   $ 7,337,801,478
4. Oklahoma   719,200   $3,571   $ 3,538,913,312
5. Texas   4,170,100   $3,598   $21,461,296,293
6. Arkansas   692,300   $3,617   $ 3,287,326,144
7. Louisiana   1,096,500   $3,823   $ 6,067,665,948
8. Hawaii   216,600   $4,051   $ 1,206,716,133
9. South Carolina   891,600   $4,260   $ 4,436,586,247
10. Michigan   1,855,500   $4,348   $ 9,846,978,779

*Kaiser State Health Facts Medicaid Payment Per Enrollee 2007
**Kaiser State Health Facts Total Federal Medicaid Payment 2008

"How well a state funds its own programs and how much matching funding it receives from the federal government determines the number of physicians willing to treat Medicaid patients, the ability of hospital emergency rooms to stay open, and the waiting periods Americans must endure when enrolling. There's a direct link between how a state is funded and the quality of its overall health care delivery system," said Lebherz. 

"What's surprising is that states like California, as an example, with the highest cost of living, actually spend and receive the least funding from the federal government for Medicaid at $2,701 total funding per enrollee per year," said Lebherz. "Meanwhile, states where the cost of living is much lower, such as Rhode Island and North Dakota, provide two to three times that amount, at $8,796 and $7,288 respectively per enrollee. When Medicaid falls short of paying health care providers what they need in order to keep their doors open, providers have to charge private patients more and this impacts everyone in that state."

Launched in 2004, FHCE's website, CoverageForAll.org, is America's first public health insurance search engine, helping over two million Americans discover their free and low-cost public and private health insurance options. Every month an average of 80,000 people visit the website, download FHCE's free iPhone application, Got Coverage, and call the toll-free 24/7 multilingual U.S. Uninsured Help Line (800-234-1317) to take the simple 5 Question Eligibility Quiz that connects them with a personalized list of public and private health coverage options.

The Foundation for Health Coverage Education (FHCE) is a non-profit 501(c)3 public organization based in San Jose, California. For the latest information regarding health care reform changes, including information for people with private health insurance, coverage for those 64 and under, or changes to small businesses, please visit www.CoverageForAll.org. In addition to its website and toll-free 24/7 U.S. Uninsured Help Line (800) 234-1317, FHCE offers free resources and guides, such as the Health Care Options Matrix™, which is customized for all 50 states.

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