Insurance coverage

New five-year MassHealth deal will improve homeless insurance coverage and hospital funding

Health

Governor Charlie Baker noted that the waiver would also support the state’s behavioral health reform initiative, expanding treatment services for substance use disorders and other behavioral health services.

Massachusetts signed a five-year, $67 billion agreement with the federal government on Medicaid reforms, increasing funds for state hospitals. Carlin Stiehl for the Boston Globe

The state signed a new five-year, $67 billion agreement with the federal government on a number of reforms for Medicaid, an approval that will increase federal funds for Massachusetts hospitals and fuel changes in how the Medicaid program of the state insures the homeless. The agreement allows the state to make changes to its Medicaid program, known as MassHealth, outside of certain federal standards. The agreement has been continuously renewed and updated since its initial approval in 1995.

Among the updates for Massachusetts, the plan will provide at least 12 months of continued eligibility for those recently released from a correctional facility and members experiencing homelessness.

“We know that many people who are eligible for Medicaid lose their coverage on a full month’s renewal, not because they aren’t eligible, but because they didn’t get paperwork in the mail,” said Daniel Tsai, deputy administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services. Tsai, who previously oversaw Massachusetts’ Medicaid program, spoke about the approval at a press conference Wednesday. The waiver will also provide additional federal funding to hospitals by agreeing to match dollars raised by increased assessment of state hospitals. Ultimately, the hospital funding program will generate more than $600 million in profits for hospitals annually over the next five years, state officials said.

Complete the story on BostonGlobe.com.