For many years, the Arizona Medicaid program has offered a subprogram by the name of Medical Expense Deduction (MED). MED has helped thousands of Arizona families pay for health care that they otherwise would have been unable to afford. In essence, MED was a short term insurance program for which eligible families could qualify for up to six months. Most families qualified for the program after suffering a medical emergency that would have been difficult, if not impossible, for them to afford. Through this branch of the Arizona Medicaid program, many Arizona families were able to obtain the health care they needed without suffering severe financial hardship.
As you surely know, Arizona has faced budget shortfalls in recent years, which has caused our legislature to rethink the Arizona Medicaid program, among other programs. Unfortunately, the legislature ultimately decided that the state could simply no longer afford the MED program. As such, as of May 1, enrollment for the MED program is no longer available to Arizonans. And as to those who are already on the program, given that it is a short-term branch of the Arizona Medicaid program, it will be entirely phased out by October of this year.
So what does this mean for Arizonans? Ultimately, the removal of the MED program amounts to the elimination of what has for a long time been an important safety net to the people of the state. Without this safety net, financial crises are much more likely to follow medical crises. Without the state’s protection, it is even that much more important for individuals to make sure they are covered with insurance – either through their employer or through purchasing insurance on the private market. One thing that Arizonans should recognize, however, is that MED’s phase out has no impact on another Arizona Medicaid program, ALTCS. Accordingly, ALTCS members should not worry at this time about any changes to Arizona Medicaid program upon which they rely.
Call JacksonWhite today to speak with an experienced Arizona Elder law attorney. (480) 818-6912