FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 11, 2004

GOVERNOR HALEY BARBOUR CONTINUES WORK FOR MEDICAID WAIVERS IN WASHINGTON TODAY
MEETS WITH CENTERS FOR MEDICAID SERVICES AND
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES OFFICIALS

(Jackson, Miss.) - Governor Haley Barbour met today with top officials of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to continue his work for federal waivers that would allow 18,000 current Medicaid beneficiaries to continue to stay on the program.

"I appreciate the positive responses we are receiving from federal officials in regards to our waiver request. I am very confident that the waivers we are asking for will be granted," said Governor Barbour.

When the Medicaid Reform Act takes effect September 15, the waivers are expected to be in place to provide the needed coverage for many at-risk beneficiaries. Dr. Warren Jones, Executive Director of the Division of Medicaid, accompanied the Governor during today's meetings.

Of the 6% of the Medicaid population who would be covered by the waiver,

*Approximately 5,000 are not eligible for Medicare because they are either not yet 65 years of age, they have no work history, or they are in the midst of a two-year waiting period required by federal law when applying for Medicare; and

*Approximately 13,000 are either end-stage renal disease patients on dialysis, cancer patients on chemotherapy, or organ transplant recipients on anti-rejection drugs. Those who are mentally ill patients on anti-psychotic medications are being included in this wavier also.

This equals 18,000 beneficiaries whose health care coverage will continue under Medicaid. This means that their coverage will not change. The other 47,000 beneficiaries are shifting from state funded Medicaid to federal funded Medicare for their health care needs.

With five weeks remaining until the implementation of this legislation, the Division of Medicaid has already individually contacted 14,000 - out of 47,000 Poverty Level Aged and Disabled recipients - to assist them in signing up for a Medicaid Drug Discount Card and access to free and discounted drug programs that provides them alternative prescription drug coverage.

Every single person who is shifting to the federal Medicare program is eligible to get their drugs from Patient Assistant Programs. These programs provide over 1350 drugs for FREE or no more than $15 per month.

In addition, they can sign up for a Medicare-Approved Drug Discount Card that will provide discounts on prescription drugs they cannot get for free. They also get $1200 to help pay for any prescription drugs they cannot get for free.

 


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Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139 Jackson, MS 39205
Phone: 601.359.3150 Fax: 601.359.3741