Wolf Begins Unwinding Corbett Changes to Medicaid Benefits

Feb 9, 2015

Gov. Tom Wolf's administration says it is simplifying the benefits packages for adult Medicaid recipients and undoing what advocates for the poor had called a severe cutback for some adults under a plan advocated by former Gov. Tom Corbett.
Credit AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File

Gov. Tom Wolf's administration on Monday announced it is simplifying the benefits packages for adult Medicaid recipients.

Wolf's administration released letter to the federal government saying it is withdrawing a request from former Gov. Tom Corbett for approval of a low-risk benefits package for healthier adults.

“Today is the first step toward simplifying a complicated process and ensuring hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians have greater access to the health insurance they need,” Wolf said. “Our approach will alleviate confusion, remove unnecessary red tape, and streamline the system so that people can see a doctor when they are sick and health care professionals have more time to concentrate on providing quality care.”

The federal government had yet to approve Corbett's request to create the low-risk package, and no one had been placed into it yet.

Health care activists have criticized its limits on services and said the process for deciding who should get the low-risk package or a more generous high-risk package was complicated and confusing.

“The low-risk option was something that our predecessor put forth … that was under consideration by the federal government but had not been fully approved,” said Wolf administration press secretary Jeff Sheridan. “We are now asking them to withdraw that from further consideration.”

Sheridan said individuals enrolled in coverage through General Assistance and SelectPlan will be transferred to Health Choices, the state’s Medicaid program, this spring.

“Also in the spring we will close the private coverage option to further enrollments, and that transition will be complete in the fall when all individuals remaining in the private coverage option will be transferred to Health Choices,” Sheridan said.