Medicaid Rules Wrong on parent/Non-Parent Benefits
from Gongwer News Service, January 27, 2003
For more articles visit
Michigan was wrong to require non-parental custodians of
children to pay more to be eligible for Medicaid benefits than
parents, the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
The unanimous decision, in Markva v. Haveman (USCOA docket No.
01-2509), upheld a ruling from the U.S. District Court in
Detroit that the rules violated federal statutes and
The decision enjoins the state from using a different
methodology to calculate the eligibility of non-parental
custodians of children for Medicaid health benefits than of
"There is simply no basis in the relevant statute or
regulations to distinguish among individuals in the 'medically
needy' 'caretaker relative' group based on financial
responsibility or any other such criteria," said Judge Martha
Craig Daughtrey in the decision joined by Judges Karen Nelson
Moore and Peter Economus.
A spokesperson for the Department of Community Health said
department staff were just reviewing the ruling and had no
comment on whether the state would appeal the decision.
The plaintiffs in the case are a group of grandparents raising
their grandchildren because the parents are either dead or
absent, and sued the state because rules instituted since the
1996 changes in welfare meant they would have to pay
proportionally more to be eligible for Medicaid benefits for
their grandchildren than would parents.
The courts said although there might be valid policy reasons
for the state to differentiate between parents and non-parent
custodians, which based its decision on the fact that parents
are legally responsible for a child's financial needs, the
policy does not meet federal requirements that caretakers for
dependant children be treated substantially the same.
"Both parents and non-parents who care for dependent children
are members of the 'caretaker relative' Medicaid eligibility
group defined" by the law, the court ruled.