Legislation gives Medicaid clients access to low-cost eyeglass lenses and frames

Medicaid providers can now obtain low-cost eyeglass frames and lenses for Medicaid clients who otherwise might not be able to afford vision hardware because of state budget cuts.

Legislation passed this year and signed by Governor Gregoire allows Airway Heights’ Correctional Industries Optical Center to continue making vision hardware for Medicaid providers and patients. Under the law, providers can furnish the eyewear to Medicaid patients at the same cost they pay the Optical Center. Prices are expected to range around $20 for a pair of glasses.

The vision benefit budget cut was one of several changes affecting coverage for clients of the Medicaid program ages 21 and older. None of the changes affected children’s benefits, which are generally protected under federal Medicaid law. The cuts also did not change coverage of eye or hearing exams for adults. Those remain covered by Medicaid.

·        Airway Heights Optical Center is directing provider inquiries to its Customer Care Department at 1-888-606-7788. Staff there will help providers through the process.

·        More information about the bill and copies of the legislation are available on the Internet at: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=5352&year=2011

·        Additional information also will be posted on the Airway Heights web page soon: http://www.doc.wa.gov/facilities/prison/ahcc/default.asp

·        Providers are reminded that dispensing codes 92340-92342 are still valid codes, and that Medicaid will reimburse providers for dispensing the glasses.

Substitute Senate Bill 5352, was originally sponsored by Senators Jim Honeyford, R-15, Debbie Regala, D-27, and Dan Swecker, R-20. It passed both chambers unanimously and was signed by Governor Gregoire on April 18.

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