PUBLISHED: March 13, 2012
RI bills could help special needs children ineligible for Medicaid
Maria Bucchino | Examiner.com | Link to article
Two proposed bills may bring relief to uninsured children with disabilities in Rhode Island that are not eligible for Medicaid because of income alone.
Senate bill S2755 and House bill H7933, Disabled Children Medicaid Buy-In, would ensure that all children in Rhode Island would have equal access to services and supports. The ability to have access to the services and supports they need will enable them to live in their homes and communities, resulting in less long-term costs to society.
The Senate bill was introduced, March 8, 2012, by Senators Louis P. DiPalma, Juan M. Pichardo, John J. Tassoni, V. Susan Sosnowski, Walter S. Felag, Jr. The House version of the same bill was introduced, March 13, 2012, by Representatives Richard P. Morrison, Eileen S. Naughton, Scott Slater, Raymond E. Gallison, Jr. and Elaine A. Coderre.
The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) revealed that 8 percent of children in this country have significant disabilities, while many do not have health care coverage according to the bill. Many families of children with disabilities are forced to remain low-income in order to qualify for healthcare for their special needs child. This bill would ensure that irregardless of income families would be able to utilize the Medicaid buy-in.
The Family Opportunity Act, part of the deficit Reduction Act of 2005, allows states to offer a Medicaid buy-in program to children with disabilities who are not eligible for the supplemental security income (SSI) due to family income requirements. They must still meet the social security childhood disability determination qualifications under the SSI program.
Rhode Island residents who are concerned about adequate healthcare for children with disabilities who currently are not eligible for medicare, should make their voice heard by contacting your legislators. Both bills are sure to be closely watched by families and advocates of children with special needs.