Disabled student reaches settlement with state over Medicaid services

Lacey Township resident and Georgetown University student Anna Landre announced her settlement with the state at a press conference in Trenton on Monday. Landre has been battling the New Jersey Department of Human Services to keep her Medicaid coverage and stay enrolled at college with the personal care assistance she needs for her spinal muscular atrophy type 2.

“I’ll be able to keep the level of care I have, which is the exact level I need, so that’s a really big relief,” Landre said.

Landre is working with lawmakers to create system-wide reforms. Assemblywoman Joann Downey says Landre’s story uncovered huge flaws in the Medicaid system. She’s reintroducing a bill to update the policy.

“Which will allow students like Anna to receive up to 112 hours of personal care assistance each week. We’re also researching new legislation that will address the issue of personal care hours for on-campus students,” Downey said.

Sen. Vin Gopal will also release a companion bill to the Assembly’s addressing personal care assistant hours. The members are encouraging a task force to be made up of state and disability advocates to look for other gaps and determine realistic care needs.

In a statement, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield New Jersey, which insures Landre through Medicaid, said it is pleased with the settlement.

“Ms. Landre raises important public policy questions about government’s role in helping disabled citizens achieve their greatest potential. Horizon BCBSNJ supports her efforts and those of Senator Gopal and Assembly members Downey and Houghtaling, to bring focus to that discussion.”

A spokesperson for Department of Human Services tells NJTV News the department can’t comment on specific cases, but the priority is to make sure individuals have the services and benefits they need. All parties plan to work together so that no one has to choose between an education and health care.

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