FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: LaShón Beamon
August 6, 2010 (202) 373-4852
DISTRICT RESIDENTS SEE EARLY BENEFITS OF HEALTH CARE REFORM
WASHINGTON – The District of Columbia’s Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF) opted for early implementation of Medicaid expansions available under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Act mandates Medicaid expansion by 2014, the District, by acting quickly became the second jurisdiction in the country to offer coverage to all adult residents with incomes under 133 percent of the Federal Poverty level (FPL).
“Providing more robust benefits to our most vulnerable population and savings District dollars while doing it has been a winning combination for us,” said Julie Hudman, Department of Health Care Finance Director. “Despite the economic downturn, our administration and city council has been supportive of maintaining our health insurance programs. Now, not only do our beneficiaries get to reap the benefits, but the District as a whole does too.”
The first of the expansions went into effect on July 1, 2010, when DHCF successfully moved approximately 32,000 Alliance beneficiaries into the Medicaid program. On July 23, DHCF submitted the 1115 waiver to the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Through the waiver, DHCF will expand Medicaid coverage to individuals with incomes between 134 and 200 percent of FPL. This will mean the transfer the additional approximately 4,000 residents into Medicaid. The second expansion is pending approval from CMS.
“Our initial request was just the beginning of expanding our health insurance programs under the Patient Protection and Affordability Act,” said Hudman. “We will continue working to ensures that all District residents have access to comprehensive quality health care.”
These collective moves will provide residents with increased access to broader health care services and ultimately save the District an estimated $66 million in local dollars over the next four years.