Texans Applying For Medicaid Will Be Judged Only On Income, Not Assets | KERA News

Texans Applying For Medicaid Will Be Judged Only On Income, Not Assets

Jul 31, 2013

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Officials prepare for a controversial ban on asset testing for Medicaid applicants; for American Airlines, boarding procedures are indeed rocket science; an app for complaining to Congress about traffic and more.

A big change is coming to the evaluation system for Medicaid applicants in Texas. Starting Jan 1, the state will no longer take in to account assets like homes and cars when deciding whether someone qualifies for the public health insurance program. Instead, the Health and Human Services Commission will only examine income.

Advocates for the move say the application process will become simpler and make help more accessible. Leaders at the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation say it will lead to more Medicaid fraud, because applicants could keep money in expensive homes and cars. HHSC spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman told the Texas Tribune around 14 percent of Medicaid applicants are denied coverage due to value found in their assets, and that it's one of many factors considered at present.

On the administrative end, she adds, health officials’ workloads will increase. That’s because applicants who apply for Medicaid are also evaluated for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, which will keep considering assets. So, what was once a single process will become two. [Texas Tribune]

  • Airlines, Astrophysicists Reach For New Answers To Boarding Order Problem: So you want to get on your plane. You’re toting a backpack that barely zips and a carry-on for the overhead bin, just like most everyone else in economy class, instead of paying upwards of $30 to check your bag. As you politely struggle down the aisle, trying not to bump suitcases or injure any children, a certainty emerges. There MUST be a better way to do this. It took extensive testing and high math, but American Airlines and United Airlines have announced new boarding systems. The kicker in American’s plan: Passengers can get on the plane sooner if they check those rolling bags instead of using the overhead bins. Go figure. AP has the story, via NPR. P.S.: Greyhound now has its own streaming entertainment system for your mobile device, if you’re considering an alternative.
  • Stuck In Traffic? Write Your Congressman – From Your Phone: An advocacy group called Building America’s Future is so serious about more funding for infrastructure, they’ve made an app for commuters to air their gridlock grievances. It’s called “I’m Stuck,” and it works on Apple and Android phones. [KUHF]  
  • Dallas Leads Housing Recovery, As Latest Numbers Tell It: Home prices in general saw the biggest hike since 2006 in May at 12.2 percent, according to the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index. Turns out Dallas and Denver hit the highest level on records going back to 2000. No city has reached a record high after the housing bust until now. [NY Times]
  • It Was A Good Run, But The Heat Is Back On: DFW’s been free of triple-digit temperatures since July 13. Today, we’re looking at a high of 102 and heat indexes of 108-109. And, a good old-fashioned heat advisory starts at 11 a.m. today. We know you missed it. [Star-Telegram]