State Seeks to Speed Ex-Inmate Enrollment in Medicaid

Maryland is seeking temporary medicaid memberships for newly released inmates — an  innovative approach to streamlining Medicaid enrollment for offenders reentering society.

This proposal is intended to remove much of the red tape and gaps to receiving treatment for substance abuse, mental health care, or other chronic health issues. All that is needed is approval from the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

As reported in The Baltimore Sun:

The measure, described as the first of its kind in the nation, would help close a care gap that arises when sick inmates leave jail or prison care but have trouble getting coverage and treatment after they get out, advocates say.

Maryland expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, making nearly all former prisoners eligible for the state and federal health insurance program for low-income people. But enrollment bottlenecks have kept Maryland and other states from signing up more than a fraction of the people leaving incarceration.

The state wants the federal government to approve a streamlined sign-up process that would give two months of Medicaid membership to released inmates who declare basic information such as residency and citizenship status. After two months, they would need to fully enroll, providing proof of identity and demonstrating income eligibility.

The article notes that if the proposal is approved it would go into effect next year.

For more information read the full article in The Baltimore Sun.