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Pharmacy says it’s pushing for Medicaid coverage

If you’re a Medicaid recipient who has been unable to receive coverage for prescriptions at the Shelter Island Heights Pharmacy, you have not been forgotten.

“All applications are still in expedited status and we anticipate that the pharmacy will be able to accept all Medicaid recipients in the near future,” according to a statement issued by a spokesman for owner Stacey Soloviev.

There was hope in early February that the state, which already had the application in an expedited status, would move within days. But that hasn’t been the case. Nonetheless, the owner’s spokesman said the effort is still underway.

“We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused,” the statement said.

Medicaid provides coverage to residents based on financial information, family size and other factors used to determine eligibility. Any pharmacy can withdraw from the Medicaid program or set limits on the number of Medicaid patients it can serve.

Sometime last December, Medicaid recipients, who had been covered for their prescriptions, were told that might not be the case in the future, and they would have to take those prescriptions to a CVS pharmacy.

For many, that posed considerable difficulty since the pharmacy is the only drugstore in town. It would mean a ferry trip to the North or South forks and time and expense to get their medications.

For some infirm residents, especially those living alone, it poses even greater difficulties to get their prescriptions.

New York State Medicaid changes

As of Jan.1, there have been a number of changes in requirements to qualify for Medicaid coverage that may allow some who didn’t financially qualify in the past to be able to receive benefits now. Changes include income levels that have been adjusted upwards for some people whose incomes were too high to participate in Medicaid programs.

The New York State Department of Health has raised qualification levels to 138% of the federal poverty level so those whose monthly income does not exceed $1,677, or $20,121 annually can qualify.

For a couple, the monthly level for income can’t exceed $2,268, or $27,214 annually. There are companies offering Medicaid coverage, and applicants can also contact the State Department of Health for guidance.