Medicaid Changes Delayed

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Thousands of Medicaid participants have until Oct. 1 to prepare for the switch to Medicare. The state's deadline is Sept. 15 for participants to be notified of the changes.

Mississippi's Medicaid director, Dr. Warren Jones, said Wednesday that under federal guidelines, participants cannot lose their benefits in the middle of a month, so the changes go into effect Oct. 1.

Jones appeared at Mississippi Senate committee hearing. About 65,000 people would be affected by the proposed changes.

The state is applying for federal waivers for about 18,000 Medicaid participants with chronic illnesses.

This would include coverage for people who need anti-rejection drugs after organ transplants or who need chemotherapy, kidney dialysis or anti-psychotic drugs.

About 720,000 people are enrolled in the state Medicaid program.