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Health & Medicine

Medicaid is a Go-to School Funding Resource for Low-income Families

— September 26, 2023

Many families rely on government programs to access the resources they need.

Medicaid, the cooperative federal and state program that provides health insurance to eligible low-income individuals and families, has been increasingly recognized as a valuable resource for boosting school health funding in the United States. In recent years, there has been a growing effort to leverage Medicaid to support the health and well-being of students within the school system. This approach improves access to essential healthcare services and enhances academic performance and student success.

In 2014, the federal government decided to reverse the free care policy for low-income families. This means that schools could no longer receive Medicaid reimbursement for healthcare services provided to students enrolled in Medicaid. However, the government’s decision has opened up new opportunities for school districts to enhance their physical and behavioral health services using Medicaid funds. States need to update their Medicaid programs before schools can take advantage of this opportunity.

Medicaid is a Go-to School Funding Resource for Low-income Families
Photo by Caleb Oquendo from Pexels

One of the key ways in which Medicaid is utilized to boost school health funding is by providing health services directly within educational settings. Schools often serve as a central point of access for children to receive healthcare, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. By allowing Medicaid reimbursements for services provided within schools, such as vaccinations, screenings, and preventive care, schools can secure additional funding to cover the costs of these vital health interventions. This approach ensures that students receive necessary medical attention and lessens the burden on families struggling to access healthcare outside of the school environment.

Furthermore, Medicaid funding can support the employment of additional health professionals in schools, such as nurses, nurse practitioners, and social workers. Identifying and addressing health issues early on is a vital role of these professionals, which can positively impact students’ health and academic achievement. With financial support from Medicaid, schools can hire and retain these professionals, ensuring students have access to the care and guidance they need to thrive.

Medicaid’s involvement in school health funding for low-income families also addresses mental health needs. Various mental health challenges can affect a student’s ability to learn and succeed. Educational institutions can bolster their support systems and offer counseling and therapy services that might otherwise be inaccessible for some students by permitting Medicaid reimbursements for mental health services provided within schools. This integrated approach acknowledges the close connection between mental well-being and academic performance.

It’s important to note that while Medicaid offers opportunities for enhancing school health funding, there can be administrative challenges in implementing these initiatives. Schools and healthcare providers must navigate the complexities of Medicaid regulations and billing procedures to ensure that reimbursements are obtained appropriately and promptly. Collaboration between education and healthcare agencies is essential to streamline processes and maximize the benefits of this funding avenue.

Medicaid is increasingly significant in boosting school health funding in the United States. By allowing reimbursements for health services provided within schools and supporting the employment of healthcare professionals on campus, Medicaid enhances students’ access to essential medical care. Additionally, its involvement in mental health services underscores the holistic approach to student well-being. Effective collaboration among policymakers, educators, and healthcare providers is crucial to unlocking Medicaid’s full potential in promoting students’ health and academic achievement.


How Medicaid is trying to boost school’s health funding

Students could get millions more in Medicaid healthcare dollars. Why aren’t they?

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