The Associated Press has found that confusion and errors are leading to people being erroneously booted off Medicaid during a nationwide review of all 84 million beneficiaries’ eligibility for the government-funded program.
The review, also called “redetermination” or “unwinding,” is expected to leave millions over the next year without Medicaid. The federal government is now requiring states to remove those who no longer qualify for Medicaid — either because their incomes are too high or they’ve moved, for example — after barring states from kicking people off the program during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, enrollment in Medicaid has ballooned, in part because no one was booted off the program.
The disruption comes as the U.S. has reached record-low rates of uninsured people.
Only a handful of states have started removing people from Medicaid in April, but Medicaid enrollees and advocacy groups are reporting problems: confusing forms that have inaccurate information about enrollees, applicants wrongly being denied coverage because of dated or wrong information on file with the state and long phone wait times to reach someone who can help answer their questions.
STATES THAT HAVE STARTED REMOVING PEOPLE FROM MEDICAID ROLLS
STATES EXPECTED TO BEGIN REMOVING PEOPLE FROM ROLLS NEXT MONTH
FIND AP’s STORY HERE
Error, confusion plague review kicking millions off Medicaid
STATE AND LOCAL REPORTING THREADS
— Contact your state health or children’s department and ask for a Medicaid unwinding plan and an update of how many notices of cancellation have been sent out to individuals to get a better idea of how many people are getting kicked off the program in your state.
— You can also examine how many people rely on Medicaid in your state by downloading data available here.
— For communities with significant non-English speaking populations, make contact with people in those groups and identify some of the difficulties they have had in navigating a complex process that is largely conducted with forms only printed in English.
— Reach out to advocacy groups or legal help organizations and ask what kind of questions or problems they are fielding from people who use Medicaid. See if they will connect you with individuals who are worried about losing coverage or have received notices that their coverage is ending.
— Has your state had problems with call wait times for Medicaid enrollees in the past? These problems are likely to resurface again during this process. Ask state officials for details about who they’ve contracted with to oversee call centers and how many additional people they’ve hired to handle calls during this busy time. States will also be required to report call volume, wait times and abandonment rates to the federal government starting in May. Ask your states for this information.
— Contact doctor’s offices, health systems and community clinics to get an idea of what they hearing from patients about Medicaid. How are doctors informing their patients of this change? How will this impact health care in the region?
— Reach out to local parent groups. For moms and dads who became parents during the pandemic, they’ve never had to worry about their children loosing coverage.
MORE AP COVERAGE TO REFERENCE
Millions who rely on Medicaid may be booted from program
How to shop for new insurance if you lose Medicaid coverage
Number of uninsured drops to record low
Localize It is an occasional feature produced by The Associated Press for its customers’ use. Questions can be directed to Katie Oyan at email@example.com.