South Carolina Budget Proposes Adding 70K Children to Medicaid

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South Carolina Medicaid agency director Tony Keck is requesting an additional $30 million from the state in his 2012-2013 budget proposal to get about half of SC’s uninsured children and youth on the federal health insurance for low-income families. Kaiser Family Foundation notes that 147,500 people aged 18 and under in South Carolina are currently uninsured, ranking the state 46th nationwide.

Keck hopes to enroll 70,000 children into Medicaid using the funds requested, primarily by streamlining the application process and having less paperwork to complete. Currently, parents who qualify for food stamps or welfare must fill out separate forms to different agencies for their many needs. Keck’s plan would simplify this process, using the information already submitted to the Department of Social Services (DSS) to enroll eligible children in Medicaid. It would also simplify the re-enrollment process that parents need to complete each year.

Not only would this simplify paperwork for parents of eligible children, but will also “cut out thousands of wasted man hours” and save $1 million in administrative costs.

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In South Carolina, under the Partners for Healthy Children program, children are eligible for Medicaid services when parents’ incomes are 200% or less than the federal poverty level. A family of four, for example, can earn up to $3,725 per month ($44,700 annually) and have their children qualify for federal health insurance.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services notes that Medicaid covers 40% of the state’s children, pays for more than half of all SC births, and covers 70% of nursing home facility residents.

Individuals applying for Medicaid in South Carolina should visit their local Social Security office. Forms can be downloaded from the SC DHHS website as well.

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