Idaho announced changes to its Medicaid plan that might slow growth in annual expenditures while increasing offerings of preventive and wellness benefits. Idaho was the third state -- after Kentucky and West Virginia -- to take advantage of a provision in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 that allows states more leeway to redesign their Medicaid programs without having to seek a federal waiver. Idaho now spends $330 million annually to support 180,000 Medicaid beneficiaries, with the federal government contributing the rest of Idaho's $1.2 billion Medicaid budget. The state projected a 7% to 8% increase in expenditures this year, but the Medicaid changes could slow growth by about 1 percentage point. The focus on preventive and wellness benefits should help, a spokesman for Idaho's Department of Health & Welfare said. "We also project that we will see less inappropriate use of services," he said. -- by Jennifer Lubell
Idaho Medicaid to boost emphasis on preventive care
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