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Washington state tries Medicare-Medicaid coordination

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SEATTLE (AP) — Washington state’s Medicaid program that gives free health insurance to the poor is working with the federal government on an experiment that is expected to save taxpayer dollars and improve services.

The new program would combine Medicaid with Medicare, which is the federal health insurance for older Americans.

The program could affect some recipients of private disability insurance or long-term care insurance (LTCI) benefits who qualify for Medicare, either because they are older than 65 or are severely disabled, and who also qualify for Medicaid, because they meet state income and asset eligibility guidelines.

State officials say their “dual eligibles” program will help Medicare and Medicaid avoid duplicating services.

Medicare and Medicaid managers are supposed to share the money they save by working together.

In the past, Medicare and Medicaid managers had no financial incentive to cooperate.

The demonstration project is being tried in Snohomish and King counties in western Washington.

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