MaineCare patients about to receive letters warning of loss of benefits

Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2012 in News

MaineCare patients about to receive letters warning of loss of benefits

Mary Mayhew, Commissioner for the Department of Health and Human Services

AUGUSTA -- The Department of Health and Human Services will send out letters to notify some MaineCare patients that they may soon lose their health care benefits.

On October 1, 12,000 patients may lose their MaineCare benefits if the federal Department of Health and Human Services issues a waiver for Maine to cut benefits to those who are already receiving services.  The waiver would be necessary because of a provision of the Affordable Care Act called Continuation of Services, which requires states to keep in place all Medicaid services that were offered at the time of the passage of the ACA.

Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has already indicated that Maine would not qualify for such a waiver.

Those who will be getting the letters are parents of children on MaineCare who earn between 133 percent and 200 percent of the poverty level.  For a family of four, affected families would lose benefits if they earn in excess of $30,657 per year.

“We will be shortly sending out a notice to consumers who are affected by the eligibility change from 200 percent to 133 percent for the parents,” DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew told members of the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee on Monday. “It is all subject to federal approval, so the notice will continue to reference that.”

Some members of the committee said they were concerned that the letters would not be explicit enough.

“We might as well get ready for the phone calls when they get the letters because people will not understand,” said Rep. John Martin (D-Eagle Lake). 

DHHS has requested an expedited ruling on the cuts from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

In the meantime, the department is reviewing the cases of MaineCare recipients set to lose coverage to see what other benefits they might qualify for, Mayhew said.

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