Washington Elder Law Practice Report (#7) / Medicaid enrollment October-November 2013

December 16, 2013

Washington Elder LawThe Washington Health Care Authority (HCA) has posted an enrollment report for the state Medicaid program (now called Washington Apple Health) for October-November 2013.

It is interesting to note that the largest number of enrollees without previous coverage has been “newly eligible adults”.

About 63,000 adults have been able to obtain coverage so far due to the new “adult category” introduced by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

When compared with target levels, enrollment to date has varied widely, from 123 percent of the target for San Juan County to 25 percent of the target for Yakima County.

The HCA has also announced online that present Medicaid clients “must complete their yearly renewals or face termination”.

“(R)enewals now should go through the new Health Exchange at www.wahealthplanfinder.org . However, paper options are available.

Some clients who do not renew in time may have difficulty in obtaining services.

Clients are supposed to have received reminder letters to complete recertification in a timely manner.

A number of coverage changes in the Washington Medicaid (Apple Health) program will take place in 2014.

Dental services for adults are being restored, which is important for many clients.

There will be no limits on the numbers of mental health visits that can be scheduled during the year.

Mental health service providers are being expanded to include Licensed Advanced Social Workers, Licensed Independent Social Workers, and Licensed Mental Health Counselors.

Apple Health will cover the shingles vaccination for individuals age 60 or older.

These and other services will become available in the new year.

It is important for Elder Law attorneys to maintain current information about expansions in Medicaid eligibility, Medicaid renewal requirements, and Medicaid covered services.

The HCA web page provides a useful ongoing resource for this purpose.

Elder law practice in Washington is discussed by Cheryl and Ferd Mitchell in volumes 26 and 26A of Washington Practice (Washington Elder Law and Practice and the associated Elder Law Handbook). Probate practice is covered in volume 26B.