Lack of Insurance Coverage Increases Risks for those Leaving Prison

An article in Kaiser Health News,  “Thousands Leave Maryland Prisons with Risky Health Problems but no Coverage,”, describes valiant, but limited, efforts of prison officials to provide health care benefits to a population with acute needs.  Prisoners struggle disproportionately with mental illness, drug abuse, diabetes and HIV and hepatitis C infections.

Yet, often, they have limited or no access to health care upon leaving prison.  When Maryland became a Medicaid expansion state, health and prison officials were hopeful that  the inclusion of single adults with limited incomes in the eligibility pool would improve that access.  Lack of staff, bureaucratic issues, and competing priorities have hampered enrollment efforts.  The result, for example, is that a prisoner on medication for mental illness might find himself upon his release cut off from the drug that is stabilizing his condition.

Wisconsin did not accept Medicaid expansion funds.  However, single adults who meet eligibility requirements are eligible for Badger Care.


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