Many districts utilize Medicaid funds to help provide medically-necessary services to students in the school setting. The Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) mandates that school districts provide health care services to students with disabilities, and provides funding designed to offset the cost of providing those services.
Since 1981, however, the federal government’s share of funding mandated services has remained at less than half of the federal commitment based on regular appropriations, as reported by the National Education Association (2017).
Over the past few decades, districts have turned to Medicaid reimbursement as a vital revenue source to help cover unfunded costs. Medicaid revenue now plays an instrumental role in allowing districts to provide vital, medically-related services to students with disabilities. While the increase in revenue funds is significant, there are even greater benefits for students receiving Medicaid coverage.
Improved Health & Academic Performance
Research has shown that Medicaid coverage has a significant positive impact not only on children’s health, but also on their educational attainment and long-term earnings (Wherry, 2015). Children covered by Medicaid during their childhood have better health as adults, with fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits. They are more likely to graduate from high school and college, and have higher wages and pay more in taxes as adults (Cohodes, Brown, Kowalski, and Lurie).
(See Figure 1, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities CBPP.Org)
Medicaid Coverage: The Illinois Public School Connection
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (2016), noted that schools serve as an important pathway to coverage by helping low-income families enroll in Medicaid. This is due to the fact that schools are trusted places, are geographically accessible, and schools have experience communicating with parents and guardians regarding the well being of their children. Schools also collaborate with local community agencies to assist families with applying for coverage. So often families do not realize the healthcare services that may be available to them, so having the school staff be informed about available services is essential in getting low-income families connected to health care services.
The Win-Win Scenario
The greatest benefit from connecting families to Medicaid services is that more children have a better opportunity for a brighter, healthier future. This is the overarching goal of all educational organizations. The other benefit from children receiving Medicaid coverage is that public schools across the state of Illinois are able to obtain reimbursement for a portion of the cost to provide those medically necessary services. This reimbursement potential supports districts with being able to hire well-trained staff, purchase needed specialized equipment, and provide essential professional development that staff need to perform their roles with a high level of fidelity.
While the extra funding generated from Medicaid is appreciated, the real outcome comes from all children having access to appropriate health care services, which allows for future health and success.
Since 2004, EmbraceDS® has been helping districts across the country receive the maximum Medicaid reimbursement.
Contact us today to learn how we can help your district!