Discrimination Against Medicaid Patients

Medicaid is a state administered medical assistance program which gets funding from the federal government. It is also recognized as Title 19 and it is accessible to people who belong to low-income levels, have no form of health insurance and have no means to pay for their medical expenses.

For people who need the services of a nursing home care and are qualified for Medicaid benefits, most of the services can be covered under the program. Medicaid will provide compensation for general accommodation and food, nurses, therapists and other staff at the home, doctor’s visits, dental care, several prescription medicines, and essential equipment such as eyeglasses, wheel chairs and hearing aids.  Medicaid does not cover what is considered as non-essential services and treatment. Examples of these are fees for chiropractors, naturopaths, special psychologists, audiologists, speech therapists and physical therapists. Also often not included under Medicaid benefits are coverage for single rooms and telephones or televisions.

Medicaid guidelines can frequently change and can be quite confusing to some people. Income restrictions for eligibility can vary in individual states.  Medicaid is usually awarded if the expenditure for nursing home care is higher than the income of a person in the nursing home.  For married couples, a spouse can keep sufficient income and assets to avoid poverty and their partner in the nursing home may become qualified for Medicaid assistance.

Quite a number of Medicaid patients have complained of not being treated fairly by some nursing homes. According to individuals who have Medicaid benefits, there are nursing homes that turn down requests or applications by them for admission once these nursing homes learn that they will utilize their Medicaid benefits to pay for their stay at the institution. There are other reports that nursing homes claim to have a limit for Medicaid covered rooms or facilities. They only accept admission of Medicaid patients if the latter agrees to pay them for a particular time frame before applying the Medicaid assistance.

Another situation when discrimination occurs is if a patient is already staying in the nursing home and informs the management that they will change the way they pay to Medicaid assisted compensation. Cases of discrimination also happen when a patient notifies the nursing home that they are planning on getting Medicaid benefits. Some people have recounted that these nursing homes told them that they will be transferred to other nursing homes if they pursue their plan.

Discrimination against Medicaid patients is prohibited under state and federal law. All nursing home residents are supposed to be treated evenly no matter what type of funding or payment option is used for their stay at the nursing home. Medicaid patients should also be given the same medical treatment and services they require for them to achieve or sustain their utmost health.

In addition, any person who becomes qualified for Medicaid benefits must be permitted nursing home residence.  Being discharged or transferred because they are utilizing Medicaid benefits is punishable under federal law.

Medicaid patients who have experienced discrimination from nursing homes or other health providers and institutions can report the offending person or groups to their local state Medicaid office or the local Long Term Care Ombudsman.