WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Biden Administration proposed a new rule finally updating the eligibility and enrollment processes for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This is welcome news to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families, who navigate a complicated bureaucracy to access the health and community-based services they need for their wellbeing and independence.
This announcement is the culmination of efforts by The Arc and many other organizations and individual advocates to raise the struggles that people face with accessing and maintaining eligibility for these critical programs. In addition to covering basic health care, Medicaid also provides home and community-based services, or HCBS, which make life in the community possible for millions of people with disabilities who often need help with things like eating, dressing, personal hygiene, working, and managing health care or finances. CHIP is an important health coverage program for kids with disabilities who don’t qualify for Medicaid.
This rule, if finalized, would standardize and improve eligibility and enrollment policies, such as limiting renewals to once every 12 months, allowing applicants 30 days to respond to information requests, requiring prepopulated renewal forms, and establishing consistent renewal processes across states.
“The bottom line is these proposed changes are going to help a lot of people navigate getting the benefits they need and keeping them. We frequently hear from people with disabilities and their families how incredibly overwhelming it is to get started, and once they have Medicaid or other federal health benefits, maintaining eligibility is a struggle due to red tape. We look forward to working with the Administration to finalize these changes to improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families,” said Peter Berns, CEO, The Arc.
The Arc advocates for and serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of over 600 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with IDD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.
Editor’s Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.