The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio upheld a settlement December 2 requiring the state of Ohio to speed up its application process for health care benefits for people with disabilities.
Under the settlement, the state must automatically enroll in Medicaid all individuals who have had applications pending for more than 90 days. The state must also create a plan for permanently reducing the backlog in its application process by January 2014. It must also hire an outside vendor to help collect medical information from applicants.
The settlement stems from a class action lawsuit filed against the state in March 2010 by Advocates for Basic Legal Equality. At the time of the filing, more than 22,000 applications had been pending for longer than 90 days.
This is a huge victory for people who are marginalized,” said Tim Harrington, executive director of the Ability Center of Greater Toledo, in the Toledo Blade. “It’s really important that folks in Ohio who are poor and disabled have access to health care, and that’s what this does.”
“When you have people who don’t have access to health care who desperately need it, that’s just plain wrong.”