Arizona Wants Childless Adults Who Are Smokers and Obese To Pay Fee In Medicaid Program

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Arizona Wants Childless Adults Who Are Smokers and Obese To Pay Fee In Medicaid Program

Friday, May 27th, 2011 - 7:50
Friday, May 27, 2011 - 07:40
Arizona wants smokers and the obese in its Medicaid program to pay a $50 annual fee.

In an attempt to bring in more revenue and perhaps change risky behaviors among its Medicaid recipients, Arizona wants childless adults who are smokers and the obese to pay a $50 annual fee to participate in the Medicaid program, according to The New York Times.

Arizona, and other states, are trying to find ways to reduce costs in their Medicaid program under a maintenance of effort requirement leading up to 2014, when Medicaid expands under health reform. States cannot reduce Medicaid eligibility, and have relatively few options to reduce their costs -- many of which, such as reducing provider reimbursments -- have already been tried.

The federal government will have to approve Arizona's fee plan for smokers and the obese. But if it is approved, don't be surprised to see other states that currently cover childless adults watch closely and perhaps start fees of their own.

The fee program would bring in millions of extra revenue to help pay for Medicaid. But will the $50 threshold encourage people to change their behaviors?