Medicaid is our nation's largest health care plan and covers one in five Americans. Enacted in 1965 under Social Security Act Title 19, Medicaid is a public health insurance program for low-income children, adults, seniors and people with disabilities. The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) serves uninsured children up to age 19 in families with incomes too high to qualify them for Medicaid. The Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit provides comprehensive and preventive health care services for Medicaid beneficiaries under the age of 21 years.
The rules governing Medicaid programs vary by location. Although subject to federal standards, individual states administer the Medicaid, CHIP and EPSDT programs with the authority and flexibility to determine who is eligible, design and coverage, health care delivery models, benefits and methods for paying providers and hospitals. Because of this flexibility at the state level, there is tremendous variation across state Medicaid programs.
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