October 17, 2021

Why is Utah Restricting Medicaid Benefits for Parents? Your Comments are (Still) Needed!

Let's Change this Discriminatory Policy!

In 2002, long before the Affordable Care Act, Utah decided to offer limited health benefits to low-income adults, who otherwise could not get health insurance. To help pay for these benefits, the state made the decision to reduce benefits currently offered to extremely low-income parents enrolled in Medicaid.

By reducing parent benefits, Utah helped finance a program known as the Primary Care Network or PCN. PCN helped individuals, who could not get Medicaid, obtain preventive and primary care services.  

Fast forward to 2021, and Utah is now a full Medicaid Expansion state!

Adults who were once shut out of Medicaid are now eligible for the full scope of health care benefits and Utah receives extra money from the federal government to pay for our expansion program. BUT....

Parents still have the limited benefits from 2002

  • For example, parents are denied eyeglasses and medical transportation, including bus passes.
  • Parents have restrictions on certain services like physical and occupational therapy.  These are all benefits that other Medicaid members are able to receive.

Utah also denies extremely low-income 19- and 20-year-old parents additional Medicaid benefits for which they are eligible

  • This includes dental benefits and preventive screenings.
  • But Utah provides those same benefits to parents who earn more. So a 20- year old single parent making $4,000 a year would not receive dental benefits, but a 20-year old single parent making $18,000 a year would likely receive dental.

If this all sounds confusing, nonsensical, and just plain discriminatory, you’re right! If there ever was a justifiable reason to offer parents fewer health care benefits, that reason has long since ended.

It's Time to Speak Out! 

We have an opportunity to change this policy once and for all. Now is the time to make our voices heard! Every five years, Utah’s Medicaid policies are reviewed and re-approved by the federal government. This is happening now-- the window to comment is open!


It's quick and easy to comment. Simply post your comments on Medicaid.gov by November 28th here.

What to tell the federal government:

  • Utah should stop denying parents their full scope of Medicaid benefits

  • Utah should stop denying extremely low-income 19- and 20-year-old parents their benefits

  • Taking benefits away from eligible Medicaid beneficiaries does not promote the objectives of the Medicaid program.

It’s time to end Utah’s practice of restricting Medicaid benefits for parents.

 Speak up today!