CMS APPROVES NORTH DAKOTA PLAN TO ALLOW DISABLED TO RETURN TO WORK AND KEEP MEDICAID
People with disabilities who live in North Dakota and receive health coverage through the Medicaid program can now go back to work and not lose their health benefits, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Mark B. McClellan, M.D., Ph.D., announced today.
CMS approval of the Medicaid state plan amendment will eliminate the difficult decision many people with disabilities have to make about returning to work, or increasing their hours at work, for fear of losing their valuable Medicaid benefits. Today’s approval will allow state residents with disabilities who can work to continue to qualify for Medicaid benefits by paying an affordable monthly premium based upon their income.
The President’s $2.2 billion New Freedom Initiative is another example of the Administration’s ongoing effort to work together with states to "tear down the barriers" to community living by helping provide people with disabilities with the support necessary to learn and develop skills, engage in productive work, choose where to live and fully participate in community life.
"This new flexibility highlights the Bush Administration policy of giving people with disabilities opportunities to live full and productive lives," said Dr. McClellan. "This approval makes good economic sense both for the state Medicaid program and those who depend upon it."
The change, approved by the state legislature last year, will allow those with disabilities aged 16 to 65 to enroll in Medicaid if their net household incomes are at or below 225 percent of the federal poverty level, or up to $1,745 per month for a single person and $2,341 per month for couples.
People who qualify and enroll will pay a monthly premium of up to no more than five percent of their monthly income. The state expects 200 to 600 disabled residents to enroll.
Medicaid is a state/federal partnership program that serves over 41 million low-income Americans who are young, elderly or disabled. Over $276 billion was spent on the Medicaid program in 2003.