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NCLEJ Achieves Settlement Providing Due Process Protections for Tens of Thousands of Missouri Children

NCLEJ and the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) have achieved a settlement in a case in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri challenging Missouri’s unlawful practice of terminating health coverage without due process of law for children who receive their health benefits through Missouri’s State Children’s Health Insurance Program and are required to pay a monthly premium. Under the terms of the settlement, in J.W.M. v. Scott, which the Court approved in April 2008, Missouri can no longer close the cases of tens of thousands of children without first giving them notice of their right to appeal and the opportunity to explain why their case should not be closed. Additionally, the State will reinstate health coverage for children who were unlawfully terminated after the federal court ordered Missouri to stop its unlawful policy of terminating children who missed premiums without first providing the opportunity to appeal. Finally, the State will also review the cases of children whose health coverage was terminated but who may have been eligible under another Medicaid program at the time they lost coverage. The State will provide financial relief for those families forced to pay out-of-pocket, from meager budgets, to cover their children’s medical costs.

The Court will retain jurisdiction over the case until October 15, 2008, unless the plaintiff class seeks an extension of this timetable. During the course of the settlement, the State will provide reports to NCLEJ in order for NCLEJ to monitor implementation of the settlement and future performance.

The case was brought under the Medicaid Act, its implementing regulations, and the United States Constitution. It was the first of its kind in the country to specifically address a State’s State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

For further information contact Laura Redman, redman(at), Marc Cohan cohan(at), or Tedde Tasheff, tasheff(at), at the National Center for Law and Economic Justice. Co-counsel is Steve Hitov, hitov(at), at the National Health Law Program, Washington D.C.

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