New Medicaid system is nod to fairness, reality

Friday, October 2, 2020

Whether we want to call it that or not, we do have universal health care in America.

Get sick, and you will be taken care of one way or another. That may be through your own insurance, or it may be paid for by taxpayers through Medicare or Medicaid, or it may take a combination of insurance customers, private-pay customers, taxpayers and charity sources to pitch in to cover your costs at the emergency room.

The hard-fought implementation of Medicaid Expansion that went into effect Thursday in Nebraska should help bring a degree of fairness and reality to healthcare funding, as well as improving quality of life and even saving the lives of many.

Since the Department of Hayes and Human Services Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care began taking applications in August, some 10,772 lower-income Nebraskans have been found to be eligible for Medicaid Expansion.

Heritage Health Adult makes Medicaid available to lower-income adults of working age, 19-64, who earn 138% of the federal poverty level -- $17,609 for a single person up to $36,156 for a family of four.

They will receive “a robust and comprehensive service package that includes physical health, behavioral health and prescription drugs,” according to the DHHS.

In addition, Nebraskans who are 19-20, pregnant or medically frail will also receive dental and vision services as well as over-the-counter medications.

The system still leaves many in the gap — those who make more than the guidelines but who aren’t offered or able to afford health insurance — but the new system is certainly a step in the right direction.

To apply, individuals can go online to ACCESSNEbraska.ne.gov, or call toll free (855) 632-7633 Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Calls are also taken on Saturday 8:00 a.m. – noon. TDD is also available at (402) 471-7256.

Additional information about Medicaid Expansion is available at dhhs.ne.gov/MedicaidExpansion.

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