Nearly 1 million Floridians are at risk of losing their health care coverage through Medicaid. That’s because the coverage during the coronavirus pandemic that ignored eligibility requirements has ended.
Some could be dropped because they are no longer eligible, while others could lose their coverage because they did not complete the renewal process by Sunday.
Additionally, Medicaid recipients will have to resume annual eligibility checks in place pre-pandemic, and potentially more frequently if they use certain benefits such as SNAP.
The federal government gave money to states to continue providing Medicaid coverage during the pandemic. As a result, no one lost access to this benefit even if they were no longer ineligible.
“I think it was a great thing they did, being able to let those redeterminations go and not worry about who had lost eligibility and let those services continue during a stressful time,” said Don Hall, Helpline director with the Area Agency on Aging of Palm Beach/Treasure Coast.
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Now, the concern is making sure every Medicaid recipient keeps their health coverage, whether that’s through Medicare or otherwise, he said. States were allowed to start unenrolling people April 1.
Recipients should have received a letter in the mail with a yellow stripe on the envelope. Inside will be a renewal notice to update your Medicaid information, which must be done by Sunday, April 30.
The Florida Department of Children and Families will be determining recipients’ eligibility over the next 12 months. But some Floridians could lose coverage as soon as Monday if the state deems them ineligible or the recipient doesn’t respond to the letter. As many as 900,000 people in the state could be impacted.
The department advises that recipients should make sure their address on file is correct on their MyACCESS account, which is important if they have moved in the past three years. It’s through this account that they can also input their renewal information. Eligibility determinations are made within 45 days, and ineligible recipients will be notified by the department by email, letter or through their MyACCESS account.
Who can help me with the renewal process or to apply for Medicaid?
Aside from recertifying or applying through the Department of Children and Families website or service center, a number of resources can help you through the Medicaid process.
First, try your health-care provider where you use your Medicaid benefits.
Another option is to use a certified navigator, which is a person trained to help consumers and small businesses in finding health care options. The state’s Department of Financial Services website keeps a list. This can be found by visiting myfloridacfo.com, navigating to “Division & Offices,” followed by “Insurance Agent and Agency Services,” “Industry Awareness” then “List of Approved Navigator Registrations.” Some examples are Epilepsy Alliance, the Urban League of Palm Beach County and the University of South Florida.
Also, many social service organizations are community partners that can assist with Medicaid questions. A list can be found by visiting myflorida.com/accessflorida, then click on “Search For A Partner Near You.” The Area Agency on Aging, Guatemalan Maya Center and the Palm Beach County Food Bank are some of the partners in the area.
Who qualifies for Medicaid?
You must be income qualified, as well as one of the following:
- Responsible for a child 18 years old or younger;
- Have a disability;
- Have a family member in the household with a disability;
- 65 years old or older.
The income limits are $19,392 for a household of one and $39,900 for a household of four, for example.
What do I do if I’m deemed ineligiblefor Medicaid?
If you are deemed ineligible for Medicaid but think there is a mistake, you can appeal within 10 days of the date of your denial letter, the department said. The appeal can be made through the department’s Office of Inspector General.
Other resources for people who cannot get Medicaid include Florida KidCare, the Medically Needy Program, the Affordable Care Act or federally qualified health centers such as the C.L. Brumback clinics.
The Health Care District of Palm Beach County, which runs 10 such community health centers, accepts new patients even if they are unable to pay or don’t have insurance, said spokesperson Robin Kish.
“We are positioned to provide high-quality care and serve as our patients’ medical home regardless of market changes,” Kish said.