After being unjustly blocked from full Medicaid coverage despite being qualified for the plan, nearly 75,000 low-income Pennsylvania women now have full healthcare coverage as a result of a settled lawsuit filed against the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS).
The affected Pennsylvanians were all women enrolled in SelectPlan for Women, a limited type of Medicaid that only covers family planning services. After learning of the Commonwealth’s refusal to transition qualified women on SelectPlan into full coverage in a timely manner, Women’s Law Project and Community Legal Services filed a federal lawsuit against DHS on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania, New Voices Pittsburgh, and private citizens. In response to the lawsuit, DHS reviewed the cases of 74,415 women who were enrolled in SelectPlan. They determined that over 59,000 of them were eligible for Medicaid, and transferred them accordingly. They referred another roughly 14,700 women to the federally facilitated marketplace. Women on SelectPlan who do not qualify for full Medicaid or the exchange will remain on SelectPlan until at least June 30.
“We are pleased to see the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services finally enable these women to obtain full healthcare coverage, and appreciate the Department’s attention and hard work to resolve the matter,” says Sue Frietsche, Women’s Law Project Senior Staff Attorney. “Now that the state has finally expanded Medicaid as intended under the Affordable Care Act, there is simply no good reason to exclude anyone qualified from it. Not even women.”
“The full healthcare coverage now available to these women is absolutely vital to their wellbeing,” says Amy Hirsch, Managing Attorney at Community Legal Services. “The women who have benefitted from this settlement are low wage workers; they must be healthy in order to work, and this new health coverage will go a long way towards helping them stay employed and able to provide for themselves and their families.”
Founded in 1974, the Women’s Law Project is the only public interest law center devoted to women’s rights in Pennsylvania. Founded in 1966, Community Legal Services has served more than one million clients who could not afford to pay for legal representation.