Medicaid—An Overview

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

Created in 1965 as part of the Social Security Act, traditional Medicaid serves low-income children (under the age of 19), pregnant women, people with disabilities and seniors (over the age 65). 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.

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

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 Medicaid expansion enrollees, the federal government pays 90% of the cost. For traditional Medicaid, the federal government pays 68%, and by 2025, Louisiana will receive approximately $1.67 for every dollar it spends.

Medicaid Enrollment in Louisiana

Total Medicaid 1,834,234
Children (including LaCHIP)648,462
Medicaid Expansion673,567

7 in 10 children in Louisiana are on Medicaid.
1 in 4 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 Louisiana Medicaid Enrollment (January 2024)
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, “Medicaid in Louisiana”—June 2023