State Health Care Now Requires Citizenship

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As of July 1, recipients of the state's low-cost health care program will be required to show proof of United States citizenship before receiving benefits.

Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) is a Medicaid program that provides health benefits and long-term care for children and adults who would not otherwise have the ability to pay for services.

The recently implemented federal law applies to current beneficiaries and new applicants, said Rainey Holloway, Department of Economic Security public information officer.

"People will be given time to obtain the documentation," she said. "What it means is you have to work on getting documents."

The agency cannot approve new applicants until they produce the proper identification.

Rules set forth in the federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 provide the impetus for the changes.

The legislation will cut a proposed $6 billion by curtailing Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security spending over the next five years.

Other aspects of the welfare reform covered under the law include housing subsidies, Hurricane Katrina relief and the support faith-based social programs.

Upon application or renewal, the agency will ask for one of three types of identification: a United States passport, a U.S. naturalization certificate issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), or a certificate of citizenship issued by USCIS. Holloway promises the program will also accept other forms of identification that prove citizenship.

"We don't want to see anybody off the system because of this," Holloway said. "We will give them the information as to where they can get their documents."

For more information on approved identification, visit www.ahcccs. state.az.us, call (800) 654-8713 or visit the local Department of Economic Security office at 122 E. Highway 260.

-- To reach Felicia Megdal call (928) 474-5251 ext. 116 or e-mail fmegdal@payson.com.

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