LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Stamas is encouraging area residents with disabilities who have been denied Medicaid eligibility in the past because of income to contact their county Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) office and have them recheck it.
“The Michigan ‘Freedom to Work’ Medicaid program was developed in 2003 to allow individuals with disabilities who receive Medicaid health insurance coverage to earn income and save for retirement without losing their needed health insurance,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “Many Michigan residents with disabilities may now be able to receive medical assistance after a reform to the program’s eligibility requirements went into effect earlier this month.”
The new law became effective on Oct. 1. To be eligible for the Michigan Freedom to Work program, a resident now must:
• Be working;
• Have a disability;
• Be between ages 16 and 65;
• Have a total income not more than 250 percent of the federal poverty guideline; and
• Have individual assets that do not exceed the Medicare Savings Program limit.
“The goal of this program is to continue to assist those with disabilities without penalizing them for income they receive while working,” Stamas said. “I encourage anyone who might meet the new requirements to contact their local human service department and check or recheck their eligibility.”
According to the DHHS, depending on a person’s level of income, participants may or may not have to pay a premium for the coverage.
Residents who wish to enroll in the program should contact their county DHHS office and ask about the new amended Freedom to Work program and “Bridges Eligibility Manual (BEM) 174.”