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Good news on access to the Free Care/Uncompensated Care Pool for US citizens (Updated)

Vicky Pulos, MLRI

Good news on access to the Free Care/Uncompensated Care Pool for US citizens

See "Interested Parties Memo" below from the Office Of Medicaid

Until now U.S. citizens who applied for health benefits could not get an eligibility determination for the Uncompensated Care Pool (UCP) until they had supplied the proof of citizenship & identity needed for MassHealth and Commonwealth Care. Advocates & providers have been complaining about the unfairness of this policy for many months. The adminstration listened. In late April 2007, The Office of Medicaid changed its policy. Now U.S. citizens applying for benefits will be able to get a UCP determination without first having to supply proof of citizenship & identity. This change applies to new applications filed after April 25. For citizens who applied before that date and who have verified all necessary information except citizenship & identity, the Office of Medicaid has already or will soon be sending out notices of decision on UCP eligibility (& another request for information in order to complete the application for MassHealth and Commonwealth Care).

We'll send out written confirmation of this change in policy as soon as we can get our hands on it.

This is very good news for citizens who have been unable to access necessary but nonemergency care without a UCP determination. The Office of Medicaid has also completed its electronic data match process with the Registry of Motor Vehicles and will now be able to verify identity automatically for people who have had a Massachusetts driver's license or non-driver ID. This is further reason not to delay submitting the application form for lack of citizenship & identity documents--the Office of Medicaid may have this information already. However, if the Office of Medicaid sends out a request for citizenship & identity information, it means data matches didn't do it. In that case, citizens will need to submit proof in order to get more comprehensive benefits than access to UCP. Remember, UCP eligibility will not satisfy the individual mandate that takes effect July 1, 2007.


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