Update on Medicaid Buy-In Program

The CILs in GA have a campaign starting today (to June 29), to make the Medicaid Buy In program meaningful in GA – please phone, fax or email David Cook (info at the bottom of this post), Commissioner of the Department of Community Health, and ask him to update and modernize the unearned income limits (if relevant, please include your personal story about how the buy in would help you).

This is a message from the Statewide Independent Living Council of GA:

What is a Medicaid Buy-In program?

The purpose of a Medicaid Buy-In program is to provide people with disabilities who are working the opportunity to earn a modest income and/or accumulate savings while maintaining needed health coverage. With this program,each state has the choice to create new Medicaid eligibility categories for working people with disabilities whose earnings and/or resources would otherwise make them ineligible for Medicaid. Put simply, workers with disabilities can earn more income without the risk of losing the basic Medicaid-funded services.

History:

In the 2006 Legislative Session, advocates successfully secured approval for the Department of Community Health to study the cost of implementing a Medicaid Buy In for Georgia. They approved Option 1 (see chart below) allowing people with unearned income up to $699 to buy into the program for a premium of no more than $50 per month. The program was implemented in the spring of 2008 but very few people enrolled in the program!

Why did so few enroll?

Because the unearned income is too low and because Georgia has not adjusted the program since 2008.  As of January 2009, the maximum SSI benefit – which brings Medicaid with it – was $674 a month. Today, it is $698 which means that the Georgia’s buy in program is no longer relevant. Today, the average SSDI payment is $1,125.67. People on SSDI are NOT eligible for Medicaid in most instances. Doesn’t it make sense to have a public policy that enables employment??

 

What can we do about this problem?

On May 31st, all, phone, fax and email David Cook, Commissioner of the Department of Community Health and ask him to update and modernize the unearned income limits. If you have a personal story about how the buy in would help you, tell your story.

 

Commissioner David Cook

Two Peachtree Street – 40th Floor

Atlanta, GA 30303

dcook@dch.ga.gov be sure to copy jdubberly@dch.ga.gov

Phone: 404.656-7990

Fax: 404.651.6880

 

 

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