HHS: Five States to Provide Continued Health Coverage for Incarcerated People

July 4, 2024
In five states, people transitioning out of incarceration will be able to continue Medicaid and CHIP coverage.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced in a July 2 press release that it had authorized five states to provide healthcare coverage for people transitioning out of incarceration. Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon, Utah, and Vermont will be able to continue the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP) coverage for incarcerated people.

HHS, through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), approved the latest in a series of Medicaid and CHIP demonstrations. This allows the five states to provide coverage before release and avoid gaps in coverage.

Historically, the press release explained, people transitioning out of incarceration can experience delays in obtaining access to Medicaid or CHIP coverage.

“This is an essential step for advancing health equity in our nation,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in a statement. “For people involved in the justice system, ensuring a successful transition back into the community includes having the healthcare support and services they need.”

“Expanding access to life-saving treatment and recovery supports for incarcerated people is a critical part of our bipartisan efforts to beat the overdose epidemic and save lives,” said White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Dr. Rahul Gupta in a statement.

CMS stated in the press release that increased coverage and access to services prior to release will help incarcerated people continue treatment after they return to the community, as well as help with interventions for behavioral health conditions.

“The Medicaid Reentry Section 1115 Demonstration Opportunity allows a state to cover certain services not otherwise coverable in Medicaid and CHIP up to 90 days before an eligible person’s expected release from incarceration,” according to the press release.

CMS continues to work with other states on Medicaid Reentry Section 1115 demonstration requests, the press release stated.

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