The 24-page guide summarizes the legal governance of a complex and frequently changing federal-state insurance program that covers medical expenses for eligible families, pregnant women, elderly and disabled individuals and others. An additional 10 pages contain 128 specific legal citations.
“The guide addresses basic questions asked by advocates, applicants and beneficiaries,” said Miriam Harmatz, co-director of the new Florida Health Justice Project, who co-authored the guide with Margaret Kosyk of Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida Inc. and Jazmine-Janine Dykes, a third-year law student at the University of Miami School of Law.
Among the questions the guide answers are: who is eligible for Medicaid; how to apply; what to do if an application is denied or delayed; what to do if eligibility is terminated; what services are covered; how managed care works; and what to do if a beneficiary’s services are denied, delayed, terminated or reduced.
In addition to providing a basic roadmap for obtaining Medicaid eligibility and/or services, the guide, which will be regularly updated, provides Florida advocates with citations to the underlying law and relevant policies in the event their clients experience denials or delays.
“The Advocate’s Guide is a wonderful resource for health-law advocates in legal services programs, as well as for pro bono attorneys working in this complex area of the law,” said Barbara J. Prager, executive director of Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida Inc.
The new Florida guide is one of the first of its kind in the nation and is based on a template created by the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) for use in creating state-specific guides. It was produced with financial support from the Florida Justice Technology Center (FJTC), a nonprofit corporation established to increase access to justice through the innovative use of technology.
“The guide exemplifies the mission of the Florida Health Justice Project, which is to increase the advocacy community’s capacity to ensure access to health care for low-income Floridians,” Harmatz said. “We are deeply grateful to both FJTC for their financial support and to NHeLP for sharing their expert support and materials, including a template guide. It would not have been possible without them.”
The Advocate’s Guide to the Florida Medicaid Program is available at https://www.floridahealthjustice.org/medicaid-guide.
About the Florida Health Justice Project
A new nonprofit advocacy organization, the Florida Health Justice Project seeks to improve access to affordable health care for Floridians, with a focus on vulnerable low-income populations. FHJP expands the advocacy community’s capacity to resolve individual access issues and educate consumers; identify and address systemic barriers to healthcare; and protect Medicaid and other safety-net programs.