Medicaid—An Overview

Medicaid is a public health insurance program for low-income people.  Covered benefits include doctor and hospital visits, prescriptions, mental health and substance use treatment, immunizations, and other health services.

Created in 1965 as part of the Social Security Act, traditional Medicaid serves low-income children, pregnant women, people with disabilities and seniors (over the age 65).

Medicaid is a partnership between federal and state governments. The federal government provides the majority of funding while states design and administer the program.

Since 1998, the Louisiana Children’s Health Insurance Program (LaCHIP) has expanded Medicaid health coverage to uninsured children in families with low to moderate incomes.

Louisiana expanded Medicaid eligibility in 2016 after the Affordable Care Act gave states the option to extend eligibility to low-income adults who don’t qualify for traditional Medicaid.

For every dollar Louisiana spent on Medicaid coverage in FY2017, the federal government matched with $2.40.

Medicaid in Louisiana

Total Medicaid and LaCHIP Enrollment1,406,311
Medicaid Enrollment1,288,317
LaCHIP Enrollment117,994
Total Child Enrollment713,991

Medicaid Spending in Louisiana

Seniors & Disabled$7.4B (68%)
Adults & Children$3.6B (32%)
Total Spending$11B

1 in 2 children in Louisiana are on Medicaid.
1 in 5 seniors in Louisiana are on Medicaid.

Managed Care

Since 2012, Louisiana has operated much of the Medicaid program through contracts with private managed care organizations (MCOs). Medicaid managed care:

  • Drives improvements in outcomes and cost through market competition
  • Expands the covered benefits available to Medicaid enrollees
  • Improves systems and technology for managing quality and cost
  • Creates budget predictability and cost savings for the state
  • Empowers Medicaid enrollees with a choice of health plans, rather than one state-run option

Louisiana Department of Health Medicaid 2017 Annual Report
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, “Medicaid in Louisiana”—updated October 2019