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Issue Alert - 03-10-03

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Date:

Oct 10, 2003

Issue Summary:

When a person applies online using the short form application for MIChild/Healthy Kids, it is necessary for them to submit the second signature page to Lansing postmarked within 5 business days. Applicants not submitting the signature page are being terminated from Medicaid without receiving a written notice of termination.

Persons Affected:

MIChild and Healthy Kids recipients.


Background

MIChild and Healthy Kids Medicaid

What's Happening?

Some applicants lose their eligibility at the end of the first month because they fail to follow the instructions to continue coverage. The eligibility report tells applicants that they must print out the signature form, sign it and mail the form with the original signature in time for it to be postmarked within 5 business days of the online application date. If the state agency determines that the applicant failed to submit the signature page to the MIChild office in Lansing, the MIChild or Healthy Kids Medicaid is terminated without any written notice to the applicant or recipient. Applicants who think they have submitted the original, signed signature page to MIChild will have no way of knowing that the Medicaid coverage is going to end. When the month ends, their Medicaid ends with no notice. This is particularly confusing for parents or pregnant women who receive the Michigan Enrolls package advising them to choose a managed care plan, which seems to indicate that they or their children have been approved for Medicaid for future months. Healthy Kids Medicaid cases are not transferred to the local Family Independence Agency office until the signature page is received. Applicants must speak with the MIChild office in Lansing about cases that are terminated at the end of the initial eligibility month. The Center for Civil Justice is researching the legality of the Department of Community Health’s failure to provide a notice to children and pregnant women who are being terminated.

What Should Advocates Do?

When assisting individuals with their e-application, make sure that they are aware of their responsibilities. If possible, mail the signature page for the applicant and keep a record of when it was mailed, in case there is a dispute about whether the signature page was submitted.Contact the Center for Civil Justice if you encounter clients with this problem (see contact information above).

What Should Clients Do?

Follow the instructions given in the eligibility report and keep a copy of the signature page with a record of when it was mailed out to Lansing. The address where the completed signature page should be mailed to is: MIChild, PO Box 22128, Lansing, MI 48909-2128. Seek legal advice if you feel you have been wrongfully terminated.

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 (www.MI.LawHelp.org) or look in the yellow pages under "attorneys" or call the toll-free lawyer referral number, (800) 968-0738.