Nevada gets $60 million more than expected for Medicaid |

Nevada gets $60 million more than expected for Medicaid

Associated Press

Nevada is getting about $60 million more than expected from the federal government for the state’s Medicaid patients, Gov. Kenny Guinn said Monday.

Describing the state’s need for at least $800 million in new revenue in the coming 2-year budget cycle, Guinn said Medicaid program cost hikes would be about $200 million of the total.

The governor mentioned the extra Medicaid funding after working through the weekend with his Chief of Staff Marybel Batjerand Budget Director Perry Comeaux on his proposed state budget.

The federal government and the state split the cost of the Medicaid program. To calculate their contribution, federal officials use a formula that takes into account states’ per-capita incomes. Because the per-capita income in Nevada is declining, the government will raise the percentage it will contribute, officials said.

Guinn said he’s relieved to get the additional money, but he’s unhappy that the per-capita income of Nevadans is going down. He said that also means more people may qualify for Medicaid.

Chuck Duarte, director of the state’s Medicaid program, said the federal government averages three years of per-capita income then weighs it against the national average. That triggered an automatic recalculation for Nevada.

The state was getting about 50 percent of the cost from the federal government. That rises to 52.4 percent in the federal fiscal year that ends in October, and will rise to just under 55 percent at that point.

It makes Medicaid funding “less of a bear we will have to wrestle with in the Legislature,” Duarte said.

The 2001 Legislature had predicted Medicaid enrollment at 125,324 last fiscal year and 133,142 this fiscal year. As of October, the last month of reporting, the number of Medicaid patients was 162,301.