Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Tuesday, September 26, 2023

States Remove Over 1 Million Individuals from Medicaid in Post-Pandemic Effort




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As the coronavirus pandemic comes to an end, several states have taken swift action to terminate Medicaid coverage, resulting in more than 1 million people being dropped from the program in recent months, Your Content has learned.

The primary reason for their removal was their failure to complete necessary paperwork.

While federal regulations mandate the eligibility review, the Biden administration has expressed concerns about the efficiency with which some states are carrying out this task.

Daniel Tsai, a prominent federal Medicaid official, recently cautioned that expediting the process could lead to eligible individuals, particularly children and families, losing their coverage for a certain period.

Reports and data obtained that around 1.5 million individuals have already been removed from Medicaid in over two dozen states that initiated the review process in April or May.

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Among these states, Florida stands out as it has dropped several hundred thousand people, the highest number nationwide.

Other states, including Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia, have also experienced a high rate of removals.

In Arkansas alone, more than 140,000 individuals have been dropped from Medicaid.

The eligibility reassessments have caused significant challenges for individuals like Jennifer Mojica, a 28-year-old resident.

Initially told in April that she no longer qualified for Medicaid due to an incorrect determination of her income, she managed to resolve the issue.

However, she then received notification that her 5-year-old son was being removed from Medicaid, even though she had never requested his cancellation.

Although her son’s coverage was eventually restored, Mojica is now facing the possibility of her husband losing his eligibility.

The uncertainty surrounding these changes has been a frustrating experience for her.

The officials in Arkansas stated that they have made efforts to automatically renew coverage for as many people as possible, with a special focus on families with children.

However, a state law enacted in 2021 requires the completion of eligibility redeterminations within six months after the pandemic.

The Department of Human Services emphasized that the state will continue swiftly removing individuals who are no longer eligible.

Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders has dismissed criticism of the state’s process, asserting that those who do not qualify for Medicaid are using resources meant for those in need.

She further emphasized that the pandemic is over and Arkansas is leading the way towards normalcy.

Recent data from February indicates that over 93 million people across the United States were enrolled in Medicaid, an increase of nearly one-third from January 2020, before the pandemic.

This surge in enrollment occurred due to federal regulations prohibiting states from removing individuals from Medicaid during the health emergency while providing increased funding to states.

With the resumption of eligibility reviews, states are now tackling a backlog of cases to determine whether recipients’ income or life circumstances have changed.

States are given a year to complete the process, but tracking down responses from everyone has proven challenging as some individuals have relocated, changed contact information, or ignored mailings related to the renewal process.

Before removing people from Medicaid, the Florida Department of Children and Families stated that they make multiple attempts to contact recipients, ranging from texts and emails to phone calls.

Nevertheless, approximately 152,600 people have been non-responsive. If eligible individuals submit information proving their eligibility within 90 days after their deadline, their coverage can be retroactively restored.

Unlike some states, Idaho continued evaluating Medicaid eligibility during the pandemic without removing anyone.

However, after the enrollment freeze lifted in April, Idaho began processing these cases and has so far dropped nearly 67,000 individuals out of the 92,000 cases that have been decided.

Advocates are concerned that many households losing coverage may include eligible children, as Medicaid covers children at higher income levels compared, according to ABC.

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