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Addressing Wrong Medicaid Addresses

Medicaid recipients in Kentucky who have outdated addresses face disenrollment from the government funded health insurance program unless they update their information.
Medicaid recipients in Kentucky who have outdated addresses face disenrollment from the government funded health insurance program unless they update their information.
October 26, 2015

FRANKFORT, Ky. - A bad address could mean bad news for Medicaid users in Kentucky. If a mailing to a Medicaid recipient comes back to the state with an incorrect address, the recipient is now being warned they have from 31 to 60 days to update their address.

Emily Beauregard, executive director with Kentucky Voices for Health, says that doesn't mean the recipient is no longer eligible for the government funded health insurance, but he or she may not find out they've been disenrolled until they seek services.

"That doctor or pharmacist is going to say, 'I'm sorry your card is not current. Your coverage is not up to date and we can't provide you services today until you change that,'"" says Beauregard.

Around 1.1 million Kentuckians receive Medicaid, more than a quarter of the state's population.

Advocates are working hard to get the message out to recipients that they can update their information by phone, mail or online. It's feared there could be "tens of thousands of people" with bad addresses. Jackie Engle is the outreach and enrollment director with the not-for-profit Family Health Centers in Louisville.

"We feared that this would be much worse than what it appears to be to this point. And, so I'm grateful for that," says Engle. "I credit the word of mouth and the communities and the groundswell and the grassroots, the providers, the insurance carriers. But there is still going to be plenty of people who are at risk and the medications are what really scare me."

This is the first full month of warnings and according to the state 5,000 to 6,000 recipients have already been notified they are about to be disenrolled. Currently, the state is attempting to only disenroll those with Managed Care (MCO) plans who have bad addresses. Open-enrollment mailings will not trigger the warning.

Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY