Friday, October 23, 2015

Medicaid eligibility for those working who have disability changes

Credit: Mark Tower who covers local government for MLive/The Saginaw News.

 LANSING -- Any disabled Michigan resident denied Medicaid eligibility in the past because of their income level should recheck their eligibility, a state senator advises, according to a report in MLive.

Republican State Sen. Jim Stamas of Midland issued a press release reminding constituents of a change to eligibility requirements in Michigan's "Freedom to Work" program that took effect on Oct. 1.

The program, first developed in 2003, helps protect disabled Medicaid recipients who choose to work from losing access to health benefits.

Stamas said recent reforms to the program have changed what it takes to be eligible to participate, encouraging anyone rejected in the past to contact their local Department of Health and Human Services office to check if the changes impact their eligibility.

"Many Michigan residents with disabilities may now be able to receive medical assistance after a reform to the program's eligibility requirements went into effect earlier this month," Stamas said.
To be eligible for the Michigan Freedom to Work program, a resident now must:
  • Be working
  • Have a disability
  • Be between the ages 16 and 65
  • Have a total income at or under 250 percent of the federal poverty guideline
  • Have individual assets that do not exceed the Medicare Savings Program limit
Both the income level and asset total requirements have changed, according to information disseminated by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
According to the DHHS, depending on a person's level of income, participants may or may not have to pay a premium for the coverage. Residents who wish to enroll in the program should contact their county DHHS office and ask about the new amended "Freedom to Work program" and "Bridges Eligibility Manual (BEM) 174."
"The goal of this program is to continue to assist those with disabilities without penalizing them for income they receive while working," Stamas said. "I encourage anyone who might meet the new requirements to contact their local human service department and check or recheck their eligibility."

-- Compiled by Jerry Wolffe, writer-in-residence, advocate-at-large at MORC. He can be reached at (586) 263-8950.