New Missouri Medicaid law may clash with federal law

A new Missouri law that took effect Friday was supposed to allow medical providers to charge Medicaid patients for missing appointments. But that isn’t going to happen — at least not yet.

On Sept. 15, the Missouri General Assembly overrode Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto and voted to permit medical providers to charge late fees to these patients for missed appointments if they do not cancel within 24 hours. It also permits providers not to allow patients to schedule another appointment until they pay the fee.

But the federal agency that administers the Medicaid program, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, allows doctors to charge patients only if they also charge the same amount to non-Medicaid patients.

In order to change Medicaid law, which is in conflict with federal regulation, Missouri would have to receive special permission from the federal government. The state has yet to do so.

If it does receive approval, however, it could affect more than Medicaid patients. Those same federal rules say that if doctors charge Medicaid patients for no-shows, they must charge everyone else, too.

Read more: Columbia Missourian

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