September 2018 ALERT - On Sept. 22, 2018, the Trump Administration proposed changes on the standards for deciding whether an immigrant who receives Medicaid or other government benefits is considered a "public charge" -- which can result in denial of Lawful Permanent Resident status (green card), deny extensions of non-immigrant visas, and denial of admission. Read more about this here. Under the proposed rule, receipt of Medicaid for treatment of an emergency medical condition, as discussed in this article, will NOT be considered in whether an individual is a "public charge." See also New England Journal of Medicine article, A New Threat to Immigrants’ Health — The Public-Charge Rule, Sept. 8, 2018 . Read more about the proposed rule here, with links to national advocacy resources.
Federal law requires state Medicaid programs to provide Medicaid coverage for "care and services are necessary for the treatment of an emergency medical condition" to immigrants who do not meet the immigration requirements for full Medicaid. This would be immigrants who are not PRUCOL. They must “otherwise meet the eligibility requirements for medical assistance under the State plan." 42 U.S.C. § 1396b(v)(2)(A)-(C) . To qualify for Emergency Medicaid, clients need to be residents of New York State, financially eligible for Medicaid (under applicable rules for the individual's category (MAGI/ NON-MAGI), and the condition requiring treatment needs to manifest itself by acute symptoms (including pain) such that absence of immediate medical attention could put the patient in serious jeopardy, seriously impair bodily functions or cause serious dysfunction to an organ or body part. See NHELP, Medicaid Coverage of Emergency Medical Conditions.
Applications for Emergency Medicaid are filed the same way as for regular Medicaid. Those qualifying for MAGI apply on https://nystateofhealth.ny.gov/ Those who are age 65+ or younger and have Medicare apply at their local district social services department. See article for where to apply in NYC
NYS directives are summarized below.
In January 2016, DOH issued GIS 16 MA/003 - Incarcerated Temporary Non-Immigrants and Undocumented Aliens which states Emergency Services Only coverage will be suspended for incarcerated individuals and reinstated upon release. While incarcerated, Emergency Services Only coverage will pay for the treatment of an inpatient medical emergency condition provided off the grounds of the correctional facility. For individuals released to the street or parole supervision, Emergency Services Only coverage will be reinstated for a period of five months (beginning on the first day of the release month), but not if released to immigration custody.
The condition requiring treatment needs to manifest itself by acute symptoms (including pain) such that absence of immediate medical attention could put the patient in serious jeopardy, seriously impair bodily functions or cause serious dysfunction to an organ or body part. There has been much case law regarding what treatment is an emergency. Organ transplants are specifically excluded in the federal statute. Nursing home care has been excluded. Greenery Rehabilitation Group, Inc. v. Hammon, 150 F.3d 226 (2d Cir. 1998). There are numerous other cases. See 2010 update . See NHELP, Medicaid Coverage of Emergency Medical Conditions.
CANCER TREATMENT - 2007 State policy directive requires coverage of chemotherapy and radiation treatment associated with a cancer diagnosis. Coverage should include prescription medications as long as they are associated with stabilization and treatment of the diagnosis that constituted the medical emergency. General Informational System 07 MA 017.
Medicaid coverage of prescription drugs for patients with Emergency Medicaid coverage is tightening. DOH has done a review of claims paid under Emergency Medicaid and determined that the program has been paying for drugs like proton pump inhibitors and blood pressure medications that do not meet the federal definition of emergency care. A new policy has been announced limiting prescription drug coverage to a list of therapeutic classes associated with emergency care. Several drugs needed by dialysis patients have been added to the list, but insulin will not be added. Drugs not on the list will be denied.
Physicians can apply for an override and claims will be paid if the drug is necessary to treat an emergency condition. Also, NY will continue to pay for chemotherapy using state only funds – but to get payment for oral chemotherapy drugs prescribers will need to submit an over-ride request.
The list of therapeutic drugs covered under Emergency Medicaid is at this link: http://www.health.ny.gov/health_care/medicaid/redesign/mrt_phase_3.htm
This article was authored by the Health Law Unit of the Legal Aid Society.