Only $4.2M left in Medicaid ACH funds; status after Dec. 20 still uncertain

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Guam is running out of the federal funds it needs to cover the health care costs for adults who qualify for Medicaid.

The remaining Obama Care Medicaid money will soon be all gone, and the $18 million allocated to Guam for the 2020 fiscal year is not expected to last beyond the second quarter of this fiscal year, unless Congress acts to expand Medicaid support for Guam and the other territories.

The remaining $4.2 million in AHC funding doesn’t require a local match. It was made available through a Continuing Resolution passed by the U.S. House just last week. That resolution expires on Dec. 20.

According to Tess Arcangel, the Public Welfare Administrator of the Department of Public Health and Social Services, the depletion of this funding is contingent on how many claims are processed by the agency.

She also adds that Public Health is up to date on processing its claims and is now going through its claims for the month of November and that it is normal if the funding were to be depleted within the next three months.

But in the event that the funds are spent more quickly than anticipated and there’s no additional funding, residents would still be eligible for the Medically Indigent Program.

“You need to take into consideration that we have the MIP program and that’s 100 percent local. So if we terminate some of those patients under Medicaid … let’s say that there’s no additional funding … they’re all qualified under MIP,” Arcangel said.

As for Governor Lou Leon Guerrero, she says that the status of Medicaid funding for Guam after Dec. 20 is still undetermined.

“It depends on whether they change the budget or if they continue again. I don’t know how soon we’ll have a budget that’s approved. My guess is that it’ll be a continuing resolution, maybe in the first quarter of next year,” the governor said.

However, she says that she will continue to work with the federal government to provide a matching calculation for Guam that is equal to that of the states.

“I am working very hard and very diligently to lift our cap for Medicaid and to get a matching calculation that is the same for the other states per capita … per income. So that’s my wish. That’s the work we have to do in DC,” the governor said.

While adult Medicaid funds may be running out, there is still plenty of Medicaid funding for children on island.

Arcangel emphasized that the Children’s Health Insurance Program known as CHIP still has $42 million dollars available in the coming fiscal year.