Saipan-- Citizens of freely associated states who are living in the CNMI may now be eligible for Medicaid, according to the Commonwealth Medicaid Agency (CMA).
CMA Director Helen C. Sablan said the Medicaid expansion was covered by an omnibus Covid relief bill signed on Dec. 28, 2020, which corrected a nearly 25-year error that excluded freely associated citizens residing in the U.S. and territories from Medicaid.
The exclusion dates back to the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, commonly referred to as welfare reform, which changed the categories of persons eligible for certain federal safety net programs including Medicaid.
Sablan said CNMI Gov. Ralph Torres certified on March 26 the State Plan Amendment to cover FAS citizens residing in the CNMI, who meet the income and resource criteria.
CMA advised citizens of Palau, Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia living in the CNMI to enroll in Medicaid.
Medicaid is a federal and state program that helps with healthcare costs for some people with limited income and resources.