Why Quality Medicaid Coverage Matters to Military-Connected Children

Why Quality Medicaid Coverage Matters to Military-Connected Children
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MOAA’s ongoing work to ensure military-connected kids receive the health care they need includes signing a recent open letter, led by the TRICARE for Kids Coalition, urging policymakers to continue prioritizing and strengthening Medicaid for children.


The letter comes alongside a new report from the Children’s Hospital Association highlighting the significant role Medicaid plays for military-connected kids – an estimated 2.2 million of whom rely on Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Most of these are the children of veterans – Medicaid provides critical coverage when families lose TRICARE during the transition out of military service and for veteran families who qualify based on income.


Thousands of military kids covered by TRICARE also qualify for Medicaid due to serious medical conditions requiring care not typically covered by TRICARE or commercial plans. For medically complex military kids, Medicaid serves as a vital wraparound to their primary coverage for home- and community-based services, along with other care not reimbursed by TRICARE.




The TRICARE for Kids (TFK) Coalition is a stakeholder group of children’s health care advocacy and professional organizations, disability advocacy groups, military and veteran service organizations, and military families committed to ensuring the military health system meets the unique health needs of the more than 2 million children of military families covered by TRICARE.


MOAA has partnered with TFK for more than a decade, securing multiple legislative victories including:


Much of TRICARE policy and provider authorization is linked to Medicare, a program for seniors, so it is not surprising gaps exist for pediatric care. Military families covered by TRICARE report lower access to care and satisfaction with the quality of care than civilian families who have private or public coverage for their kids, according to a study by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Policy Lab.


The military lifestyle may partially explain these results – military families frequently sacrifice continuity of medical care as part of military moves, and often face challenges in reestablishing care at new locations. However, additional issues must be addressed to improve access to care for military kids, including wider appointment availability at military treatment facilities and the establishment of a problem reporting system for military families who face difficulties securing appointments.


[RELATED: MOAA’s Health Care Priorities for the 118th Congress]


MOAA looks forward to continued collaboration with the TFK Coalition as we seek to protect and improve TRICARE for military kids.



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About the Author

Karen Ruedisueli
Karen Ruedisueli

Ruedisueli is MOAA’s Director of Government Relations for Health Affairs and also serves as co-chair of The Military Coalition’s (TMC) Health Care Committee. She spent six years with the National Military Family Association, advocating for families of the uniformed services with a focus on health care and military caregivers.