UPDATE: Lawsuit says state has refused information on private option applications, not followed law on enrollment | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

UPDATE: Lawsuit says state has refused information on private option applications, not followed law on enrollment

Posted By on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 9:41 AM

A lawsuit will be filed today by a public interest group challenging the state process of initially determining whether people are eligible for coverage under the private option expansion of Medicaid, a program that provides health insurance for people making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

Legal Aid of Arkansas will file the suit based on work by its Economic Justice workgroup.

Note that this is a separate — and long-festering  — issue separate from the question of throwing thousands of people off the private option for failure to respond in a 10-day window to an income reverification check that was poorly handled by the state. A separate legal review of that problem — which could cost 50,000 people their insurance by next month — is underway and could also be the subject of a lawsuit.

I'll have more details when the first suit is filed later today.

UPDATE: Here's the word from Legal Aid:

Its lawsuit is a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit meant to promote transparency in the "delay-ridden" private option.

The last available data, generated in November 2014, showed over 22,000 Private Option applications pending, with only 69% being processed on time. During a two-week span in May, Legal Aid of Arkansas and the Center for Arkansas Legal Services accepted 100 calls from people suffering from these long wait times.

Also in May, Legal Aid of Arkansas made a Freedom of Information Act request to DHS to get current statistics on the percentage of Private Option applications processed within 45 days and the agency’s plans to address any backlogs. DHS provided no information and refused informal efforts to get the data. After a second request, DHS again failed to provide statistical information. Despite this, Legal Aid of Arkansas obtained emails demonstrating that DHS has the requested information, leaving unanswered the question of why it was not provided.

Legal Aid says it hopes the lawsuit will make the program "transparent, efficient and accountable," which in turn could make Arkansans "happier, healthier and more productive."

I've asked DHS for a response.


UPDATE: A response from DHS spokesman Amy Webb:

DHS has not yet been served with the lawsuit therefore I won't be responding specifically to it. What I can say is that DHS has met with Legal Aid and has responded to Legal Aid requests. We've also requested Legal Aid send us a list of individuals who they think are eligible but still have pending applications so that we could prioritize them and ensure people who need coverage get it. To date, we have not received any such list.

Tags: , , , ,


Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Where's the outrage?

    Am I the only person, apart from federal prosecutors, outraged about the criminal enterprise that inveigled itself into a privileged position as an Arkansas taxpayer-financed human services provider to the tune, today, of $43 million a year?
    • Jun 21, 2018
  • Where's the outrage?

    • Jun 21, 2018
  • Rutledge opponent hits her socializing with corporate interests

    Mike Lee, the Democratic candidate for attorney general, has criticized Attorney General Leslie Rutledge over recent reports of her participation at private meetings where corporate interests make big contributions to a political group she heads for access to state legal officers.
    • Jun 21, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Arkansas Supreme Court refuses to rehear invalidation of marijuana act

    The Arkansas Supreme Court today denied a request to rehear its decision invalidating Issue 7, the medical marijuana initiated act.
    • Nov 3, 2016
  • Former Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel applauds Trump's EPA choice of climate change denier Scott Pruitt

    Dustin McDaniel gives the thumbs up to a man set to dismantle EPA regulations.
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Slideshows

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation