FL Medicaid Changes Leave Some Scrambling for Coverage
Friday, June 30, 2023
Of its 4.9 million Medicaid enrollees, Florida purged about 300,000 from its Medicaid rolls when the federal government removed protections put in place to keep everyone covered during the pandemic. Health-care advocates are voicing concerns over those being kicked off the rolls for procedural issues, such as failing to respond or sending in documents as requested.
Lynn Hearn, a Florida Health Justice Project staff attorney, said she's also concerned about a change of plans at the Florida Department of Children and Families. The agency initially said it would hold off on Medicaid redeterminations for kids younger than 21 with medically complex conditions until next spring.
"Another variation from their plan is that medically complex children were scheduled to be last during the 12-month process," she said, "and we are hearing from many who are being terminated early in the process."
Before dropping people from Medicaid, DCF said it contacts them multiple times through texts, letters, emails and calls. Instructions on how to renew coverage are supposed to arrive 45 days before someone's renewal date.
Hearn said her organization has posted a toolkit on its website for anyone needing a guide to manage the changes.
Marcus Robinson, UnitedHealthcare's president of markets for the individual and family plan business, said people might have options for insurance coverage through circumstances that are considered a "qualifying life event," which makes someone eligible outside of a yearly defined enrollment period - such as the sudden loss of employment.
"Other things that are qualifying life events, change in marital status - so, getting married or divorced," he said, "and then, having a baby - either through adoption, or having a baby naturally. Also, a death in the family."
Robinson said little-known qualifying events include moving or relocating and changes in your income. The Unitedhealthcare.com website also has more information. Because Florida is among the handful of states that have not expanded Medicaid for low-income adults, groups such as the Florida Health Justice Project have said it is hearing "heartbreaking" stories from people with no health-coverage alternative.
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