March 2007 "Medicare Is Changing Again"
PLANNING FOR WEALTH & SECURITY
By attorneys Jennifer & Jeff Hawkins
MEDICAID IS CHANGING AGAIN!
They say that moss won’t grow on a rolling stone. Certainly, no moss will be growing on the Medicaid system in 2007. The much publicized Medicaid privatization plan announced by Governor Mitch Daniels will lurch forward in a few days. This article offers a preview of this monumental transition called the Indiana Eligibility Modernization.
The State of Indiana contracted with the IBM Corporation in 2006 to transfer the management of Indiana’s Medicaid system to a private coalition lead by the IBM Corporation. Governor Daniels said in 2006: “The FSSA welfare system has failed recipients and taxpayers alike and must be changed.” Indiana’s stated reasons for the privatization project are listed on the State’s website at http://www.in.gov/fssa/pdf/eligibilitymodernization0806.pdf as follows:
- Worst record of welfare reform in the country
- High error rates
- Slow processes that fall short of federal guidelines and provide poor customer service
- Inconvenient access
- Lack of consistency
- Lack of tracking capabilities and proper accounting programs make system ripe for corruption
The Eligibility Modernization plan will break Indiana up into four regions. The southernmost region, Region 2, will consist of all of the counties including and lying south of Warren, Parke, Putnam, Owen, Monroe, Jackson, Jennings, Ripley, and Dearborn. Each county will maintain a small office, but most functions within Region 2 will take place at service centers in Terre Haute, Evansville, and New Albany.
The modernization system affects Cash Assistance (TANF), Food Stamps, and Medicaid. Those programs will be administered by an IBM-lead group of private companies called the Indiana Coalition For Self-Sufficiency. The state of Indiana will maintain responsibility for eligibility determinations, but the coalition will manage all of the data entry and systems management responsibilities.
Beginning on March 19, 2007, Indiana will transfer 1,518 of its 2,200 employees to the Coalition. Region 1 (a group of 12 counties lying north of Indianapolis) will begin the project’s pilot phase that will last until about December 31, 2007. Then Region 2 will enter the new system. The entire state will be fully engaged in the new system by about June 2008.
This transition is unprecedented in Indiana. Let us hope and pray that Indiana’s most vulnerable citizens will experience improvement in the systems on which they depend for survival. Only time will tell.
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. ALWAYS CONSULT AN ATTORNEY DIRECTLY BEFORE RELYING UPON THIS ARTICLE OR CHANGING AN ESTATE PLAN.
© 2007 by HAWKINS LAW PC, Estate, Trust & Business Attorneys. All rights reserved.