Medicaid changes have patients confused, worried
by Andrew Pavia
Jan 16, 2013 | 623 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print

At a Community Board 6 meeting in Forest Hills meeting last week, Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, chair of the Committee on Oversight, Analysis and Investigation, was unable to provide many concrete answers to residents regarding the state’s proposed changes to the Medicaid system.

In 2012, over 5 million residents in New York State utilized Medicaid at a price of $53 billion. The governor’s Medicaid Redesign Team has sent its recommendations to the Department of Health, which has yet to approve them.

Although most of the proposals will be discussed over time, the state has announced that one step has already been implemented: the movement of long-term care patients into managed long-term care programs and Medicaid-managed care plans. 

A second part of the plan would have those enrolled in Medicaid who had previously been exempted from managed care choose health plans or face auto-enrollment.

“This transition is taking place at a rapid pace,” according to Hevesi. “Patients and their caregivers have to make coverage decisions now that will have long-lasting ramifications.”

The change regarding long-term patient care is due to the expenditures of long-term care that consists of roughly 45 percent of the Medicaid budget in New York State. Last week, Hevesi criticized the governor’s Medicaid Redesign Team.

“They are causing so much anxiety with the patients it’s unbelievable,” he said. “Not only do they not know how it’s going to affect them, but they don’t know when it’s going to kick in.”

One community member asked if the solution to the problem would just cause more problems. Hevisi called the question “a legitimate point,” but went on to say that New York is not alone in a re-evaluating its healthcare system.

“Every state in the country is doing something like this,” he said. “But the fact that we’re now trying to figure out how we’re doing it and it’s budget driven means it’s bad policy from my perspective.”

According to Hevesi, the state is trying to fix the issues with the Medicaid system all at once, and is afraid that if cost-analysis is the primary focus, then those in the system will not benefit from the changes.

Hevesi said that the plan is vague and that not all decisions have been finalized.

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