More than 100,000 Pennsylvanians could be eligible to appeal Medicaid benefits

More than 100,000 Pennsylvanians who lost Medicaid benefits last year may be eligible to reapply, thanks to an agreement reached Tuesday between the state Department of Public Welfare and Philadelphia Community Legal Services.

The agreement affects those who were dropped from Medicaid rolls between August 2011 and January 2012. DPW will send out a letter – on official blue paper – to people previously ruled ineligible, informing them of their right to appeal. Recipients will have 30 days to submit an appeal form.

During the period in questions, advocates said about 130,000 people, including 89,000 children, lost their medical benefits after DPW re-evaluated those receiving Medicaid. The move sparked an outcry from some advocacy groups who argued the numbers were incorrect.

In July, the Obama administration stepped in, sending a letter to DPW asking whether it had dropped any of the recipients in error. Community Legal Services announced Tuesday that it had reached an agreement after months of negotiations.

A DPW spokeswoman said that the letters would be mailed out Oct. 26, but that no final determination had been made on how many people would be eligible to appeal.

“Until we run the numbers ourselves, we won’t know the exact number because they’re still working on [it],” said spokeswoman Donna Morgan. “Certainly, if they think they’re eligible they need to go ahead and fill that out get the information in to us.”

State lawmakers from the Philadelphia delegation applauded the agreement.

“For over a year, these families have been bereft of much needed medical benefits,” state Sen. Vincent Hughes said in a statement. “These families have had to struggle with costly medical bills or have simply gone without medical care because they could not afford it. I am pleased that this issue has been resolved and that these individuals who erroneously had their benefits taken away could have their medical assistance restored.”

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