New Medicaid feature to reduce future nursing home enrollees

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Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's administration is rolling out a new Medicaid feature designed to reduce the future number of enrollees in Pennsylvania nursing homes.

The program starts Jan. 1 in 14 southwestern counties, in a state where the elderly population is exploding.

It's giving insurance companies a financial incentive to get Medicaid enrollees the nursing care and services they need at home, where it's half as expensive.

A 2019 launch is planned for the Philadelphia area and 2020 for central and northern Pennsylvania.

Medicaid currently covers home nursing, but insurers are expected to simplify the bureaucracy and respond quickly to needs.

Some say that system can work well, unless insurers try to make the care as cheap as possible, without regard to need.

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