State and local officials urge residents who are unemployed or underemployed at this time to apply for Medicaid benefits because health care insurance is essential during a worldwide pandemic.

On March 18, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that residents already enrolled in state programs, such as SNAP and Medicaid, would automatically receive another three months of assistance.

In addition, he temporarily suspended job search, work and participation requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents drawing SNAP benefits, the Kentucky Works Program and Child Care Assistance Program.

Beshear also eliminated prior authorization requirements and waived out-of-pocket fees associated with coronavirus testing or treatment.

“We want everyone to sign up for the programs we have, those who are underemployed or unemployed,” Eric Friedlander, acting secretary for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said during the governor’s March 18 press conference. “Those who are eligible and not already signed up, we want to help you apply. We ask you to visit our website and call us so we can help you with your health benefits.”

During several of Beshear’s daily press conferences, the governor has said there is no stigma associated with receiving public assistance during a worldwide crisis, and he has urged Kentuckians to apply for unemployment and health care benefits to sustain their families during the coronavirus fight. For public assistance information, go to https://benefind.ky.gov or call the Department of Community Based Services at 855-306-8959.

Suzanne Craig, program manager at Green River District Health Department, said anyone who has lost work due to the coronavirus should inquire to see if they qualify for Medicaid.

“Many people qualify and don’t realize it,” she said.

Medicaid eligibility is based on household income and the number of people living in a residence. For example, a family of four earning up to $36,156 would qualify.

Locally, residents may call GRDHD at 270-852-2904 or Audubon Area Community Services at 270-683-8643 to make an appointment.

During this time of social distancing, Craig said residents must call instead of coming to offices.

In addition to other duties, Craig heads the Daviess County Community Access Project, which helps residents receive free medication through more than 5,500 pharmaceutical programs.

Residents who are unemployed or underemployed at this time may be eligible to receive free medications through DC CAP. To inquire, call 270-852-2904.

“We’re in this together,” Craig said, “And we want people to have the best health possible during this scary time.”

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com

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