In direct response to the Flint, Mich., water crisis, an expansion of Medicaid eligibility has been approved by the Department of Health & Human Services.

Under the new expansion , announced March 3, Medicaid will now cover children up to age 21 and pregnant women who were served by the Flint water system from April 2014 up to a date to be specified by the Michigan governor. Those eligible can have incomes up to 400% of the federal poverty level. Under this new waiver agreement, about 15,000 additional children and pregnant women will be eligible for Medicaid coverage and 30,000 current Medicaid beneficiaries in the area will be eligible for expanded services, HHS estimates.

“The expanded benefits available through this Medicaid waiver gives parents in Flint access to this type of care and support that may be needed to help their children overcome possible effects of high lead exposure,” Dr. Nicole Lurie , HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response, said in a statement .

In addition to full state Medicaid benefits that will not be subjected to cost sharing or premiums, the state will provide to those exposed to lead through the water system targeted case management services that include medical, social, educational, and other services.

The expansion was approved under the Section 1115 process and is approved for 5 years. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder made the request on Feb. 13.

gtwachtman@frontlinemedcom.com

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