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Marsha Regenstein

Medicaid Coverage for Individuals in Jail Pending Disposition: Opportunities for Improved Health and Health Care at Lower Costs

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides an opportunity for millions of poor men and women to obtain insurance coverage to address their health care needs. A substantial percentage of the newly eligible population will be jail-involved. The ACA explicitly allows incarcerated individuals pending disposition to be classified as qualified to enroll in and receive services from health plans participating in state health insurance exchanges if they qualify for such coverage. However, under current rules, individuals in jail pending disposition are ineligible for Medicaid services. They may enroll in the program but their status as an inmate results in their being ineligible for benefits.This paper describes the jail population and offers 10 reasons why individuals in jail pending disposition should be eligible for Medicaid coverage.

Marsha Regenstein, PhD
Jade Christie-Maples
Department of Health Policy
School of Public Health and Health Services
George Washington University