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Georgia Receives 100% Reimbursement for Medicaid Eligibles under Hurricane Katrina Waiver

Friday, October 14, 2005  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


ATLANTA – Today Governor Sonny Perdue announced that the state of Georgia has received a commitment from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for 100 percent reimbursement for medical services provided to Medicaid eligible victims of Hurricane Katrina residing in Georgia . 

“This commitment from CMS validates that the Georgia healthcare community did the right thing by stepping up to serve the needs of evacuees regardless of whether or not reimbursement would be provided,” said Governor Sonny Perdue.

Last month, CMS approved Georgia 's application to provide temporary Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) eligibility to Hurricane Katrina evacuees from Louisiana , Mississippi , Alabama and Florida .

The Georgia Hurricane Katrina Relief program, a 1115 demonstration waiver, authorizes the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) to provide Medicaid or PeachCare for Kids coverage to eligible evacuees for up to five months.  Coverage can be determined retroactive to August 24, 2005.

Georgia officials have accepted more than 13,000 applications from Hurricane Katrina victims for financial Medicaid assistance.

Evacuee status includes parents, pregnant women, children under age 19, individuals with disabilities, low-income Medicare recipients and low income individuals in need of long term care who meet simplified eligibility requirements established by CMS under this waiver approval.  Evacuee status can be established by self-attestation of displacement, income and immigration status.  Georgia must, to the greatest extent possible, verify circumstances of eligibility, residency and citizenship, and protect against fraud and abuse.

Eligible members will receive health care services currently offered in Georgia's Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids program.  Members temporarily enrolled in these programs will be subject to cost sharing requirements which could include minimal co-payments.  However, providers may not deny services due to a recipient's inability to pay a co-payment.

Applications for evacuee status will be accepted through January 31, 2006 at county Department of Family and Children Services offices and other social service outreach locations. 

In addition, Georgia will be allowed to reimburse providers that incur certain uncompensated care costs for medically necessary services and supplies for evacuees who do not have other coverage or other relief options available for a five-month period effective August 24, 2005 through January 31, 2006.  The Department has until October 31, 2005 to submit a plan for this program.

DCH will be required to provide enrollment and expenditure reports associated with the Georgia Hurricane Katrina Relief Program to CMS on a regular basis.  Currently, Georgia's Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids programs provide health care coverage to approximately 1.7 million individuals.  The state normally receives a federal match of approximately $1.50 (Medicaid) and $2.50 (PeachCare for Kids) for every one dollar of state funds spent on health care services for these populations.

For additional information or to apply for eligibility in the Georgia Hurricane Katrina Relief Program, contact your local Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) office.