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February 20, 2024

Two Medicaid Program Changes Increase Access to Health Care for Children

Parents of minor children with disabilities can be paid caregivers, and KidsCare could cover 10,000 more children

PHOENIX – Today, Governor Hobbs and the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) announce two changes to Arizona's Medicaid program that will positively impact children, including children who live with developmental disabilities and the families who provide care to them.

AHCCCS received federal approval to increase the upper income limit of KidsCare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in Arizona, and to make permanent AHCCCS’ ability to reimburse parents as paid caregivers of their Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS)-enrolled minor children with disabilities.

“Expanding access to health care is a pillar of my administration, and these two additions to the Medicaid program will have a direct impact on children in Arizona. Increasing the upper income limit on KidsCare eligibility means more children will get needed health care services through their early development, creating a healthier population overall,” said Governor Katie Hobbs. “And parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities will be compensated for delivering health care services to their children.”

“AHCCCS has worked diligently to successfully obtain the approvals necessary to expand these two Medicaid programs to positively impact the children of Arizona, especially those with developmental disabilities,” said AHCCCS Cabinet Executive Officer Carmen Heredia. “These approvals showcase Arizona’s longstanding status as one of the country’s most innovative Medicaid programs.”

In 2023, the Arizona Legislature passed, and Governor Hobbs signed, a bill to increase the income limit for KidsCare eligibility to 225% of the federal poverty level. With this approval, Arizona has become the first state in the nation to expand CHIP financial eligibility through its federal five-year 1115 Waiver approval process. The new benefit begins April 1 and could mean as many as 10,000 more children in Arizona will have health insurance.

AHCCCS also received approval to pay parents as caregivers of their minor children with disabilities who are enrolled in the Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS). Temporarily added during the Public Health Emergency to mitigate the direct care worker shortage and improve access to timely, effective care in the home and community, this approval continues the benefit as a permanent feature of the ALTCS program. Governor Hobbs has made continuing this program one of the priorities of her administration and has included its funding in her budget.

For more information see this Fact Sheet and the Parents as Paid Caregivers web page.

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