Medicaid and Men’s Health

June is Men’s Health Month – a time to raise awareness of preventable health problems among men and encourage men and boys to seek early care to detect and treat diseases. This year, Modern Medicaid Alliance partner Men’s Health Network is encouraging men and boys to use 2020 as a benchmark for a new decade and vision for their own health.

“You can leave the 2010s behind and start fresh,” says Ana Fadich, Vice President of Men’s Health Network. “Think of 2020 as the start of the roaring ‘20s for your physical and mental health – what is your idea of perfect health?” A toolkit is available from Men’s Health Network with sample social media and blog content to help spread awareness of Men’s Health Month.

Medicaid plays a critical role in men’s health, according to Jimmy Boyd, Executive Director of Men’s Health Network. The Medicaid program helps address underlying health conditions and provide access to care, especially among urban and minority populations. Medicaid also covers many mental health services, which Men’s Health Network is currently researching in collaboration with the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). One of the greatest challenges their research has identified is that men are about half as likely as women to have an encounter with a health care provider, which may explain why women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with mental health conditions like depression.

Boyd encourages states to broaden eligibility to allow more men to enroll in coverage, since men are less likely to enroll in Medicaid. “Men are born sicker and die earlier,” Boyd shares. “I encourage men be strong role models for their kids by taking care of their health and well-being and enrolling in Medicaid.”

The current COVID-19 crisis is also impacting men at disproportionate levels. According to the latest research, men and women are equally likely to experience COVID-19, but men have higher hospitalization rates than women and are more likely to die from the virus. Dr. Sal Giorgianni, science adviser to Men’s Health Network, attributes the discrepancies in part to a lower testing rate among men, but also to behaviors. “Men are less likely to take preventive measures – they don’t get tested, don’t wear masks, don’t social distance and are more likely to have untreated comorbid conditions,” he says.

Dr. Giorgianni encourages men to follow the advice of public health officials and get tested for COVID-19 if they experience symptoms or come into contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Medicaid programs are offering additional services to support patients and help stop the spread of COVID-19. This makes Medicaid more important now than ever, especially for men who have lost employer-sponsored insurance due to the pandemic. The Modern Medicaid Alliance developed a helpful resource for navigating coverage options.

For more information about Medicaid coverage and COVID-19, visit healthcare.gov.

For more information about the coronavirus, visit cdc.gov/coronavirus.