- A coalition of 50 organizations and associations has called for an immediate pause in Florida’s Medicaid redetermination process due to concerns about its impact on children’s health in the state.
- The group cites procedural errors, long call center wait times, and inadequate staffing at the Department of Children and Families (DCF) as issues leading to the erroneous loss of health insurance coverage for many individuals.
- The coalition demands action from DCF and the state government to address such issues and proposes the creation of a public-facing dashboard for updates.
A coalition of organizations has called for an immediate pause in Florida’s Medicaid redetermination process, citing concerns over its impact on the health of children in Florida.
In a letter addressed to Gov. Ron DeSantis, the group of 50 organizations and associations argue that the current redetermination process is plagued by procedural errors, long call center wait times, and a lack of adequate staffing at the Department of Children and Families (DCF), contending that the issues have led to an erroneous loss of health insurance coverage for many individuals.
The coalition, composed of various advocacy groups, demands immediate action from DCF and the state government in the letter, calling for the redetermination process to be put on hold until DCF can address the issues outlined in its plan and comply with federal requirements. The letter also proposes the creation of a public-facing dashboard to provide regular updates on the redetermination process.
“There are several issues that are causing families and individuals to erroneously lose coverage: long call-center wait times, inadequate staffing at the Department of Children and Families (DCF), inaccurate and difficult-to-understand language in administrative forms that families receive, and inappropriate use of household income to determine individual eligibility,” the letter, published by the Florida Policy Institute states. “This loss of health insurance coverage due to procedural errors and inefficiencies is unacceptable and preventable.”
The letter further requests that all children currently undergoing redetermination for health insurance be provided with 12 months of continuous coverage, coupled with temporarily waived premiums for newly enrolling children in KidCare, similar to a practice in Georgia. Moreover, children who have been disenrolled from Medicaid for procedural reasons should have their coverage immediately reinstated, the letter urges.
According to enrollment data from the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), Florida has disenrolled more than a quarter of a million children under the age of 20 from Medicaid since the redetermination process began in April.
“While children are not expensive to cover, they require regular care — including well-baby and well-child visits, treatments for asthma and ear infections, and stitches when they take a fall on the playground,” reads the letter. “Moreover, children and adolescents are facing a mental health crisis, and Medicaid is the primary payer for treatment.”
Recent data shows that Medicaid enrollment in Florida has declined 7 percent from April to July, a trend mirrored in other large states across the nation. The reduced rolls are largely due to an end to the COVID-19 emergency rule, which temporarily allowed those not usually eligible for Medicaid to participate in the program. This year’s eligibility verification process – the first allowed in three years – led to the disenrollment of nearly 430,855 Floridians from the Medicaid program, sparking contended media headlines that Florida was removing children and single mothers off of Medicaid.
Per DCF, the state has made extensive outreach attempts, sending out millions of emails, text messages, and phone calls to each Medicaid recipient, attempting to remind them to respond and cooperate with the state’s federally mandated effort to perform financial eligibility verification.
Moreover, the number of people disenrolled in Florida for procedural reasons versus eligibility reasons is in line with or better than many other large states, such as Texas and New York, which have, at least partially, evaded similar criticisms. The data was collected by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), a healthcare policy group that tries to track the impact of healthcare policy changes.