This morning the AHCCCS (Arizona Medicaid) web site had no updated information on the QI-1 program funding. (See posts from the last two days.) This afternoon I checked the News and Updates section of the AHCCCS website, and there is good news. People who received the cancellation letter from AHCCCS, dated 12/23, can ignore it. Here is the statement from AHCCCS:
QI-1 Program Update
On Friday, December 23, 2011, the President signed into law the “Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011″ (TCCA). Under section 310 of that legislation, the Congress continued authority and additional funding for the QI program through February 29, 2012. Arizona is currently working with federal authorities at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to ensure that the State has sufficient funding for AHCCCS members enrolled in the QI-1 program through February 29, 2012. Therefore, AHCCCS sent the following revised notice to all QI-1 members explaining that AHCCCS will continue to cover their Part B premiums through the end of February. AHCCCS will NOT move ahead with any discontinuances for now. However, Congress must still act to extend the QI-1 program for the remainder of the year. AHCCCS will continue to monitor, but federal officials believe that the Congress will act to extend authorization and full funding for the upcoming year. Continue to check the website for updates.
So it looks like 12,500 seniors and disabled Medicare beneficiaries will get a two-month reprieve. But actually, the QI-1 program will most likely be funded through 2012. According to an email from the Center for Medicare Advocacy, this program has survived on short-term funding for many years.
The program, a fixed-amount block grant to states to administer through their Medicaid programs, has been extended for short periods ever since its initial authorization expired in 2002. The extension legislation authorizes $150 million dollars to continue the program through February 29, 2012.
I just got a bit more info from Jack Cheevers, a public information officer for CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid). The information below is part of an announcement from CMS.
For informational purposes, in September 2011 we provided States with draft preliminary QI allotments for FY 2012; such amounts were based on a funding level of $280 million. As indicated above, we continue to expect that Congress will fund the QI program for the entire fiscal year.