Medicaid Waivers Granted

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Gov. Haley Barbour announced Thursday that more than 17,000 Mississippi Medicaid recipients will remain on the program, thanks to permission granted by the federal government.

Barbour had met with federal officials several times over the last two months to make Mississippi's case for the waivers. The waivers were granted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Division of Medicaid will immediately send letters to these 17,000 recipients to notify them of their continued health care coverage.

"On behalf of all PLADs beneficiaries, I want to thank CMS for granting our state these vital waivers. We asked them to complete this process in a shorter period of time than they would normally do it, and they succeeded," said Governor Barbour.

Of the 17,000 of the Medicaid population who would be covered by the waiver:

Approximately 5,000 are not eligible for Medicare because they are either not yet 65 years of age, they have no work history, or they are in the midst of a two-year waiting period required by federal law when applying for Medicare; and approximately 12,000 are either end-stage renal disease patients on dialysis, cancer patients on chemotherapy, or organ transplant recipients on anti-rejection drugs. Also included in this waiver are mentally ill patients on anti-psychotic medications.

The remaining 48,000 PLADs recipients who are shifting to the federal Medicare program are eligible to get their drugs from Patient Assistant Programs. These programs provide over 1350 drugs for free or no more than $15 per month. In addition, they can sign up for a Medicare-Approved Drug Discount Card that will provide discounts on prescription drugs they cannot get for free. Beneficiaries also get $1200 to help pay for any prescription drugs they cannot get for free.