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Issue Alert - 03-09-02

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Date:

Sep 19, 2003

Issue Summary:

Coverage for Dental, Chiropractic, Podiatric, and Hearing Aid Services Ends for Adults on October 1, 2003

Persons Affected:

All adults with Medicaid


Background

Medicaid

What's Happening?

Effective October 1, 2003, the Michigan Medicaid program will no longer pay for dental, hearing aid, podiatric, and chiropractic services for adults (age 21 or older). Only emergency dental services (extractions) will be available to adults. These optional services were eliminated as a cost savings measure, with an estimated savings of $27.2 million in fiscal year 2004. Although the legislature voted to restore the chiropractic, podiatric and hearing aid benefits, Governor Granholm vetoed the restoration. The elimination of these services is only one part of the cuts that will be made in the Medicaid program for fiscal year 2004.

What Should Advocates Do?

Make sure that clients who are adult Medicaid recipients know about these cuts. (Notices were mailed out to recipients in September.)Keep contact information (name, address, phone number) on clients who experience serious problems because of these cuts who would be willing to talk to the media or policy makers about the cuts as opportunities arise. Reassure clients that children with Medicaid will continue to be eligible for all medically necessary services. The elimination of optional services does NOT apply to children who are entitled to both mandatory and optional services under the EPSDT (Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment) portions of the Medicaid law.

What Should Clients Do?

Contact their state legislators and the Governor's office to let them know how the cuts are affecting them. Write letters to the editor of their local newspaper, explaining that the cuts have occurred and how the cuts have affected them.

Finding Help

Most legal aid and legal services office handle these type of cases, and they do not charge a fee. You can locate the "free" legal services or legal aid office that serves your county on the Michigan LawHelp website (http://www.MI.LawHelp.org) or look in the yellow pages under "attorneys" or call the toll-free lawyer referral number, (800) 968-0738.