Established by Title XIX of the Social Security Act of 1965 as an optional program for states, Medicaid was adopted by all states by 1982. Arkansas adopted Medicaid in 1970, and adopted the complementary Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) established by Title XXI in 1997. The two programs together serve as the primary source of health care coverage for low-income families, children, and the disabled, and of long-term care coverage for the aged and disabled. The Medicaid program is a joint arrangement by each state and the federal government, and many states’ Medicaid programs in the region are largely federally-funded. This allows the federal government to set minimum program standards while allowing for some state flexibility and innovation. The Congressionally-legislated formula for the share of each state’s Title XIX Medicaid program costs covered by the federal government—the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP)—has changed minimally since 1965. However, the match rate for particular programs such as CHIP varies from the standard Medicaid FMAP.
This fact sheet provides information about FMAP calculation, match rates for Arkansas programs, FMAP variation across states, and ways that states may use federal funds differently in the future.