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Workers With Disabilities Coverage Program Begins

May 18, 2004

BISMARCK, N.D. – For years, people with disabilities have faced the choice of losing important Medicaid health coverage if they obtained employment or increased their work hours or rates of pay at existing jobs. A new Medicaid buy-in program will eliminate that decision for some North Dakotans beginning June 1, 2004.

Approved by the North Dakota Legislature during the 2003 session, the program enables people with disabilities who are between the ages of 18 and 65 to enroll in Medicaid if their net household incomes are at or below 225 percent of poverty. Monthly household incomes can be up to $1,745 for a single person or $2,341 for a household of two in order to qualify.

Economic Assistance Policy Division Director Blaine Nordwall said, “The Department of Human Services is implementing the program as directed by the legislature. We are estimating that the program may cover between 200 and 600 people.”

Qualifying individuals will pay a one-time $100 enrollment fee and then will be responsible for a monthly premium equal to 5 percent of the disabled individual’s monthly income.

The legislation was championed by Minot State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities, which has a Medicaid Infrastructure Grant from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to help states address employment barriers for people with disabilities. Legislative sponsors include Senator Judy Lee of Fargo and Representative Clara Sue Price of Minot.

Individuals apply for the coverage through their county social service office using the standard Medicaid application. Individuals already covered by Medicaid who have high cost-sharing requirements, also known as recipient liabilities, may be able to switch to the new coverage group.

The Workers With Disabilities Coverage Program will expire in June 2005 unless reauthorized during the 2005 legislative session.


Tom Alexander, Minot State University, Center for Persons with Disabilities (701) 858-3436 or Heather Steffl, N.D. Department of Human Services (701) 328-4933


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