250,000 Florida residents have started Medicaid; most awaited

Health advocacy groups are calling on Florida to stop a review of Medicaid beneficiary eligibility after nearly 250,000 residents were barred from the program in the past four weeks.

On April 18, the Florida Department of Children and Families began a purge of the more than 5 million people from states that Medicaid provides, as part of the public health emergency ending that went into effect May 11. . of 461,000 people, taking Medicaid benefits away from more than half.

About 80 percent of those fired, about 205,000, were disqualified because they failed to respond to requests for information needed to renew their eligibility, the state report shows. About 44,300 recipients have been referred to other programs because they earn too much to be eligible.

The high number of so-called procedural terminations has alarmed health advocacy groups who fear families, including children who are still eligible, will lose coverage because they were unaware of the requirement.

The Policy Institute, an Orlando-based nonprofit, was among the groups that earlier this year warned of a looming tidal wave of loss of health care coverage for children, parents and young adults. CEO Sadaf Knight on Wednesday said the state should suspend the process and re-enroll those removed until it has verified their eligibility.

We have consistently urged the state and the administration to do everything in its power to ensure that no child or eligible parent is excluded from health care coverage due to bureaucratic inadequacies, he said. Now, early reports confirm our fears about unnecessary hedging losses. There is no excuse for the loss of health care coverage for more than 200,000 Florida residents due to procedural red tape.

State Medicaid roll-ups have increased by nearly 1.8 million since 2020 as the federal government paid states extra money to keep people covered during the pandemic, even if they were no longer eligible. Similar recipient checks are conducted in every state in the nation as directed by the federal government.

The Department of Children and Families earlier this year released a plan to send renewal notices to recipients via email and letters.

The plan says those who lose coverage will be referred to alternatives, including Florida KidCare, a government-sponsored health insurance program, and federally subsidized health centers that treat low-income patients. Hillsborough County also operates a health care program for low-income residents funded through a sales tax.

Hillsborough County received 877 new applications for its program in April. As of Wednesday, more than 1,060 people have applied this month, spokesman Todd Pratt said.

The federal pause on Medicaid restatements over the past three years has been unprecedented, department secretary Shevaun Harris said in an April 18 memo to health care groups. This change reflects a return to normal operation.

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Florida is one of only 10 states that has not taken advantage of a provision in the Affordable Care Act that rewards states for extending Medicaid to more low-income residents.

Florida’s Medicaid program covers children age 5 and younger in households earning $33,408 or less and older children whose parents earn up to $31,795. But there’s no coverage for parents earning more than $7,000 a year, and adults without children aren’t eligible, no matter how little they earn. Only four states in the nation have stricter Medicaid eligibility, according to the Florida Policy Institute.

The Florida Health Justice Project is also calling for the state’s Medicaid review to be stopped processes. Eligible families with children who rely on Medicaid could fall on deaf ears and be disqualified, said Alison Yager, executive director of the project. She also asked if the state was following up his plan to prioritize the review of people who are no longer qualified and those who have not used Medicaid services.

It raises all kinds of questions about whether people are getting their correspondence or are having trouble getting in touch with (the Department for Children and Families), she said. People still don’t know it’s happening.

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