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Basic Health Plan coverage being restored to thousands after ruling

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Oct. 26, 2011 at 7:37 pm | No Comments »
October 27, 2011 11:09 am

Budget cuts have reduced enrollment in the state’s Basic Health Plan to 35,000, less than half what it was a year ago.

But after a federal judge’s ruling, the state must offer to reinstate 11,000 of the people cut from the rolls. Letters are going out to them this week.

The low-income patients were cut from the subsidized health insurance plan in March based on eligibility changes intended to mirror federal requirements and qualify for federal funds.

U.S. District Court Judge James Robart issued a preliminary injunction Sept. 28, siding with suing patients who lost coverage, the Health Care Authority said today.

The judge found thousands of people didn’t receive enough notice from state government when it asked for proof they met new eligibility rules. For a smaller number of patients, who didn’t prove they had been legal U.S. residents for five years, the state ran afoul of equal-protection requirements.

There was no immediate estimate of the hit to the state budget. State officials weren’t surprised by the order, the latest of several court-imposed roadblocks to budget cuts. Gov. Chris Gregoire‘s office was already considering abolishing Basic Health altogether to help bridge a $1.3 billion shortfall. She puts out a plan Thursday.


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