Lawsuit challenges Maryland Medicaid delays

A recent class action lawsuit, filed on behalf of nearly 10,000 people with disabilities, accuses the state of Maryland of consistently violating state law by failing to process Medicaid applications in a timely manner.

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Under Maryland state law, the state is supposed to make eligibility determinations for Medicaid applications within 60 days. However, nearly half of the state’s 20,000 pending applications have been waiting for longer than this period, according to an article in the Baltimore Sun.

The named plaintiff in the case, Mary Lou, is currently in need of treatment for kidney failure, diabetes and hypertension, among other ailments. She has been waiting for more than 200 days.

“Her case is typical of others I see everyday,” said Carolyn Johnson of the Homeless Persons Representation Project in a news release from January 18. “People with serious medical conditions apply for Medicaid and then wait months, often more than a year, for the state to process their applications and provide benefits.

“During that time they can’t afford to see doctors or afford testing and treatment, including prescriptions and medical supplies. So they go without healthcare until serious conditions deteriorate and become acute or life-threatening, which often means they end up in the emergency room costing the state far more money.”

The lawsuit was filed by the Public Justice Center, the Homeless Persons Representation Project and the National Center for Law and Economic Justice.