Medicaid benefiting rural areas

(WEAU) – Data shows 16-percent of rural residents nationwide were covered by Medicaid in the past year.

People often have a hard time admitting they are on Medicaid.

But, Jon Bailey of The Center for Rural Affairs says using this health coverage is proving to benefit people and doctors.

“If Medicare and Medicaid weren't there or if they didn't pay what they did now, a lot of those doctors, hospitals, clinics wouldn't be able to stay in business in those rural areas,” said Jon Bailey of the Center of Rural Affairs in a phone interview.

Sue O'Branovich an Options Counselor at the Aging and Disability Resource Center says a lot of people ask her about using Medicaid.

"We also have a lot of people who are on Medicaid and even need help with their benefits or need help knowing what kind of programs are available for them,” said Sue O'Branovich of the Aging and Disability Resource Center.

While some Medicaid programs have a 2,000 dollar asset limit, others allow you to have more.

Therefore, coverage is based on your situation.

“I think as times get harder people, their more prone to look for what kind of choices are available for them,” said Sue.

Jon says that about 65 percent of families with non senior Medicaid enrollees have at least one worker in the family.

“I think it's just a function of the rural economy, most rural areas, wages are lower. So even though people are working their income is going to be lower than urban areas,” said Jon.

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  • by anonymous on Mar 23, 2012 at 06:16 PM
    Problem is premiums for people on Medicare keep going up, and have been considerably over the last few years. As far as Medicaid goes there are essentially two programs ran by the state called badger care. The first is the Federal program is in which people on SSI are guaranteed Medicaid. The original Federal program had no copay, but Wisconsin was able to get an exemption so a copay is charged. Part of this was an attempt to control the costs and the other part is a revenue source for the state. The second program is for low income people. The state has been adding who qualifies for this program in an attempt to garner votes. This is probably where most of the wasted comes from since the program is underfunded for the sheer number of people on it. The state then cuts the benefits for those on Medicaid so they don't have to cut the number of participants. Hey, you don't want to make your constituents angry who voted you in. The other part of the equation is the payments to the medical providers. These payments have been getting smaller along with the services covered. Medical providers then stop accepting new patients as they don't get paid enough by Medicaid. This can be especially hurtful in rural Wisconsin where providers are already listed. Waiting lists for services become longer causing costs to go up as medical, dental, or mental healths problems don't get taken care of right away. Dental problems can also contribute to health problems causing costs to go up also. What's the answer? Who knows. Cutting services and money paid to providers may save money in the short run but causes higher costs down the road.
  • by GLS Location: EC on Mar 23, 2012 at 07:24 AM
    My folks are on Medicare and pay $350 per month for the supplimental coverage to Medicare. The HMO that they belong to in Marshfield also gets over $900 per enrollee from the Federal Government. When you look at everyone who is on Medicare you get an idea of the huge cost to us.
  • by jen on Mar 23, 2012 at 05:15 AM
    I'm sorry but I had to laugh when it said people have a hard time admitting they are on medicaid. Most people I know on badger care have no problem letting you know. In fact they are almost proud to be on and have no plans to get off of it. They feel they are entitled to it and have no problem using tax dollars for their benefit.
    • reply
      by Barb on Mar 23, 2012 at 09:47 AM in reply to jen
      It's because of wonderful people like you who have such an understanding way about them, that causes people to hesitate when admitting anything about their personal lives. Why don't you just try living your own life and not feel you have to criticize others for choices they make.
    • reply
      by Timmy on Mar 26, 2012 at 06:20 AM in reply to jen
      I know a few younger people (20's) on Badgercare, and, unlike those that you seem to know, they won't admit it, they aren't proud of it, but admit they may be on it for awhile because their jobs are low paying.
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