Senate Considers Making Changes To The Medicaid Waiver Program

The Senate Finance Committee is working on ideas to change the way people become eligible for and utilize the Medicaid Home and Community Based Services Waiver Program.The Medicaid Home and Community Based Services Waiver is a federal program administered by the states, which provides funding for people with disabilities to live in the community and obtain support services. There are currently long waiting lists for this waiver program in many states.

The Senate Finance Committee is creating policy options as part of President Barack Obama’s efforts to reform the American health care system.

The options pertaining to the waiver program include:

• Requiring states to lift their caps on the number of waiver recipients to include more people. Or, prohibiting states from using waiting lists to prevent eligible individuals from accessing services.

• Eliminating a current requirement that in order to obtain funding from the waiver individuals must need an institutional level of care.

• Giving states more latitude to determine income requirements for waiver eligibility.

• Allowing individuals to enroll in multiple Medicaid waivers at one time.