Who is coming into LIA?

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Today’s CT Mirror asks the question – who are the 37,000 new enrollees in the Low Income Adult Program? LIA was created just over a year ago as an option under the Affordable Care Act. CT shifted our fully-state-funded SAGA program into Medicaid, getting a 50% federal match, and re-named it LIA. When the program switched, the SAGA $1,000 asset limit on eligibility was lifted. As more people have signed up for the program than intended (fuzzy policy estimates are hardly new) and costs are higher than expected, the state has asked the feds for permission to re-impose an asset limit of $10,000 for eligibility. The administration has suggested that many new LIA members are able to pay for insurance, but are choosing coverage in a public program. The article notes that we really don’t know who is enrolling, because the state doesn’t ask about assets in applications and no one has surveyed the population. But the reporter spoke to providers who say that’s not what they are seeing in the real world. The article also includes interviews with two new enrollees that do not fit the administration’s picture. Make sure and read down to both stories – important lessons about people working hard doing everything they should and are unlucky enough to have health problems – exactly who safety net programs are built for. In a down economy, it shouldn’t be surprising that numbers are up.