Mental Illness & Medicaid Eligibility: Model Program Helps Increase Enrollment
A recent study released by SAMHSA describes the results of a model program that helped to increase Medicaid enrollment by 17 percent among individuals with serious mental illness who were discharged from institutions in Oklahoma.
The study report, Establishing and Maintaining Medicaid Eligibility upon Release from Public Institutions, presents data on a program intended to ensure that eligible individuals with serious mental illness were enrolled in Medicaid upon discharge from state correctional facilities.
The effort significantly improved access to mental health treatment and services by reducing barriers to health insurance for eligible individuals.
As described in the report, SAMHSA commissioned a project, which brought together a broad coalition of state agencies in Oklahoma. The goal of the project was to design, implement, and evaluate the results of a model program to ensure that eligible individuals were enrolled in Medicaid by the time they were released from public institutions.
The project helped to leverage funds from the state mental health agency in order to hire three discharge managers who were stationed in three specific correctional facilities. The discharge managers were responsible for identifying inmates with serious mental illness within 6 to 9 months in advance of their release.
The discharge managers then helped these individuals apply for Federal disability benefits, a common pre-requisite for Medicaid eligibility. Once disability was established, the inmates received help in applying for Medicaid. The results of the evaluation showed that this model program increased the number of eligible people enrolled in Medicaid on the day of their release by 17 percent.
To order a hard copy of the complete report, call SAMHSA’s Health Information Network at 1-877-SAMHSA-7 (1-877-726-4727). Request publication number SMA10-4545. For a PDF version, visit SAMHSA’s Web site.