Wolf Administration Lays Out Timeline for Full Medicaid Expansion

Mar 9, 2015

Gov. Tom Wolf campaigned on a promise to fully expand Medicaid. The state Department of Human Services announced Monday that the transition from HealthyPA to Health Choices would be complete by September 30.
Credit Flickr user Alex Proimos

The Wolf administration has announced its timeline for the transition to a traditional Medicaid expansion.

Beginning in April, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services will transfer individuals enrolled in the General Assistance and Select Plan programs from the private coverage option (PCO) to the new Adult benefit package, dubbed HealthChoices.

Those receiving General Medical Assistance include senior citizens who are blind and disabled, families with children receiving federal welfare benefits and individuals with a temporary disability. The Select Plan covers reproductive healthcare services for women aged 18-44 with low income and no other health insurance.

That first phase of the transition is expected to be completed by June 1. From July 1 through Sept. 30, the state will transfer all remaining HealthyPA PCO enrollees into the HealthChoices Medicaid expansion.

“What we’re doing here in consolidating those down into one streamlined Adult package. That will make things a lot simpler and a lot less bureaucratic,” said Ted Dallas, Acting Secretary of the Department of Human Services. “We saw folks who were getting lost in that system, folks who weren’t getting the coverage they needed or they were getting assigned to the wrong place as a result of the complexity.”

Dallas said those enrolled in these programs do not need to take any action at this time.

“If you’re receiving coverage through the department or through the State, you don’t have to do anything until you’re contacted by the state,” Dallas said. “Our goal here is to make the process as seamless as possible and make the transition orderly and efficient.”

Approximately 2.2 million Pennsylvanians are enrolled in Medicaid coverage through the state.

The Wolf administration’s changes get rid of high-risk and low-risk classifications of coverage, and instead provide the same coverage for all enrollees.

Dallas said he expects the new benefit package to be finalized in the next month.