Corbett Medicaid alternative challenged in court

    A Philadelphia-based nonprofit is suing Pennsylvania over changes to health insurance benefits that are part of Gov. Tom Corbett’s alternative to Medicaid expansion.

     

    The lawsuit filed Monday in Philadelphia federal court comes 10 days before Corbett’s plans take effect to change benefits in the health care program for 1.1 million adults.

    Benefit cuts that are designed for healthier adult Medicaid enrollees are being imposed without adequate notice or clear standards, according to Community Legal Services of Philadelphia.

    “When you have any entity, particularly a government entity, making decisions about people lives in a way that that really impact their health, their well being and even their ability to live, they are entitled and deserve an opportunity to understand the bases for those decisions,” said Kristen Dama, an attorney working on the case.

    Some enrollees are being threatened with the loss of necessary services, thus violating the Social Security Act and constitutional guarantees of due process, according to Community Legal Services.

    One of the two plaintiffs in the suit filed against against Department of Human Services Secretary Bev Mackereth said she won’t be able to receive dental coverage through the state’s plan, even though she tripped and fell in October, breaking three teeth.

    Melissa Mendez, currently in a special state plan that provides such coverage, will be shifted to the standard plan come Jan. 1.

    Corbett’s administration says it will work to avoid confusion or disruption of service, and people can be enrolled in a different plan if medical needs arise.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.