Prisons support inmates' Medicaid enrollment

As states expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, their prison systems are increasingly helping prisoners enroll in Medicaid both during incarceration and in preparation of release, according to a study to be published in the American Journal of Public Health. Aiding inmates' enrollment will lower prison system costs and improve prisoners' access to healthcare upon release, according to the study, which noted future research should look at the financial implications of prisoner enrollment and the Medicaid program. "We know that an increasing number of prison systems, although far from all, are helping prisoners enroll in Medicaid in preparation for their return to the community," Josiah D. Rich, M.D., director of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights at The Miriam Hospital, in providence, R.I., said in the research announcement. "Enrollment improves access to basic health services, including substance use and mental health services, and can in turn benefit the health of the communities and families to which prisoners return" Announcement

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