MADISON – Medicaid guidelines affecting incarcerated members will take effect later this month, state officials announced Friday.
Beginning Oct. 24, officials will suspend benefits for incarcerated members when they enter incarceration. Before release, an inmate will have their benefits re-evaluated.
Policy changes’ affect on current standard
Under the current policy, Medicaid members have their coverage terminated when they became incarcerated. Medical and behavioral health care was often delayed after their release, as a result.
Medicaid is a federal program that provides health care services to low-income people.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) made the policy change. The two departments worked with income maintenance agencies and community partners.
Delays in care and re-arrest
Delays in care can result in increased negative health outcomes and rates of re-arrest.
Incarcerated individuals are more likely to experience chronic physical and mental health conditions, the Kaiser Family Foundation states. This includes serious mental illnesses or substance abuse disorders.
In the two weeks after release, adults leaving incarceration face a mortality rate 12.7 times higher than other adults.
“This new policy will increase the likelihood of successful re-entry for Wisconsin residents into their communities,” DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm said in a news release.
“Connecting incarcerated individuals to health care and other support services upon their release is critical to breaking the cycles of chronic homelessness, reliance on emergency care and re-arrest.”
Supervising more than 20,000
As of Oct. 9, the DOC’s Division of Adult Institutions was supervising 20,953 people. Nearly 70 percent of people released from incarceration in 2019 were eligible for a Medicaid program. In Wisconsin, the prison system released 9,585 residents from incarceration in the 2019 federal fiscal year.
Officials also expect the new policy to reduce expense pressure on community organizations and free or low-cost clinics.
Medicaid will pay for inpatient hospital expenses for inmates with suspended benefits. As a result, the policy should result in cost savings for the DOC and local county jails.
Also in the News
MILWAUKEE — Jay Rothman, president of the University of Wisconsin System, recently announced a new program, called the Wisconsin Tuition Promise, that will bring tuition aid to students set to begin in the Fall 2023 semester. The program will help disenfranchised Wisconsin students looking to earn a degree at any UW school. Roughly 8,000 students…
UPDATE: The silver alert has been cancelled. The man found the missing man and he is safe. CALEDONIA, WI — The Caledonia Police Department has issued a silver alert to help them find a man missing from the area since early Monday morning. Donald Heider, 85, was last seen at 2:12 a.m. Monday, Aug. 15,…
RACINE, WI — A 15-year-old boy is in the Racine County Jail for allegedly shooting another boy to death. Police responded at 10:25 p.m. Friday, August 12, to the 1900 block of Case Avenue about someone getting shot. They found 16-year-old Quentin Smith suffering from a single gunshot wound when they arrived. Smith was taken…