Associated Press Published

State Saving Money on Inmates with Medicaid

Doctor's Exam Room

State Division of Corrections officials estimate the division has already saved more than $1 million in medical treatment costs this year by having inmates on Medicaid.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the Division of Corrections has been enrolling inmates with Medicaid since January 2014. That’s when, as part of a provision of the Affordable Care Act, the state expanded its program to cover those who make up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line.

Medicaid pays for treatment of inmates only after they have been admitted to a hospital for more than 24 hours. Because they don’t have an income while in prison, all inmates are generally eligible.

Estimating that inpatient hospitalization costs about $1,600 per day, Debbie Hissom, health services administrator for the Division of Corrections says about $1.15 million was saved from January until July.