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Committee discusses Medicaid coverage for inmates

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A joint committee on Regional Jail and Correction Facility Authority met Monday morning to hear from the West Virginia Medicaid commissioner.
Nancy Adkins, Medicaid commissioner for the state's Bureau of Medical Services, outlined some of the rules and regulations surrounding the coverage of the state's inmates.
"If an inmate is admitted and resides for 24-hours or later, they can be eligible for Medicaid," Adkins said. "If a person becomes eligible for Medicaid they get all the benefits."

The plan to allow inmates who are hospitalized to be covered under Medicaid would only help those incarcerated and in need of emergency surgery including kidney transplants or other operations, Adkins said.
Very few states have adopted the legislation, with 12 of them total including Pennsylvania and Michigan who just this year decided to take part in the program.
The Medicaid law denies federal matching funds for convicted prisoners, about 1.5 million adults nationwide. Each state, county or city must pay for the medical needs of all detainees from general funds.
The problem for most lawmakers to understand was that two entities would be responsible for an inmate's insurance should they be hospitalized. A private company would continue to be responsible for paying fees for the first 24 hours of an inmate's hospitalization,  before they could become Medicaid eligible.