Feds to expand Medicaid coverage in Flint

Feds to expand Medicaid coverage in Flint
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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Thursday it will expand Medicaid coverage to about 15,000 low-income residents of Flint, Mich., amid the city’s ongoing water crisis.

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“It is a top priority for the administration and for the department to ensure that all children and pregnant women exposed to lead in their water in Flint have access to the services they need,” HHS wrote in a statement.

Pregnant women and children up to age 21 will be eligible for Medicaid as long as their incomes do not exceed four times the federal poverty level, which is $24,300 for a family of four. The coverage expansion will go into effect for five years.

Under current law, Michigan residents are eligible for Medicaid coverage if their incomes are up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

A resident is considered at risk for the lead poisoning if they used the Flint water system from April 2014 “up to a date specified by the Governor,” HHS said.

The Obama administration is meeting a request from Michigan’s Republican governor, Rick Snyder, who asked last month for expanded Medicaid coverage.

It’s the latest move by the federal government to assist children and pregnant women in Flint, along with monitoring lead levels in their blood, behavioral health services and nutritional support.