Medicaid enrollment in Florida declines, but state makes adjustments for Idalia victims

by | Sep 21, 2023

  • Florida’s Medicaid enrollment declined due to the end of COVID-19 emergency rules, but the state’s approach aligns with federal guidelines.
  • Kaiser Family Foundation data shows Florida’s Medicaid disenrollment rates are comparable to other large states, with options for reinstatement.
  • After Hurricane Idalia, Florida Healthy Kids Corp. will cover September premiums for KidCare enrollees in 16 affected counties.

Florida’s Medicaid program has seen noteworthy changes in recent months, with significant drops in enrollment and shifts in eligibility criteria. The enrollment decreased by more than 105,000 people in August, a continuing trend from the past months, according to data from the state Agency for Health Care Administration. This follows the end of a federal public-health emergency triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The data shows that there were 5,254,460 enrollees in August, down from 5,360,069 in July, and an even more significant decline from the 5,778,536 enrolled in April.

The decline in numbers is a result of the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency rule, which temporarily expanded the eligibility criteria. The first eligibility verification process allowed in three years led to the disenrollment of nearly 430,855 Floridians. These numbers have generated contentious debates among political groups and media outlets. However, despite allegations of neglect or discrimination, Florida’s approach to Medicaid disenrollment appears to be aligned with federal mandates and comparable to procedures in other large states.

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), a non-profit organization focused on healthcare issues, collected data that shows Florida’s number of procedural disqualifications are in line with or better than those in states like Texas and New York. Specifically, 210,282 Floridians were disenrolled for procedural reasons, while 220,573 were determined financially ineligible. This contrasts starkly with Texas, where 490,723 were disenrolled for procedural reasons compared to 125,000 who were determined ineligible. Even New York, with rising Medicaid enrollments, saw 177,978 people disenrolled for procedural issues versus 160,029 for eligibility reasons.

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) in Florida is committed to aiding eligible families. Those who are removed from the Medicaid program are not left without options; federal rules allow an additional 90-day window to submit the necessary paperwork for possible reinstatement.

In addition to the broader changes, the state has also implemented temporary adjustments to account for the impacts of Hurricane Idalia. The Florida Healthy Kids Corp. announced it will cover the costs of September premiums for children enrolled in the KidCare program in 16 affected counties. The decision, which will cost an estimated $961,000, aims to provide relief for families in designated counties as they begin their road to recovery after the Category 3 hurricane that made landfall on August 30 in Taylor County.

So, while the headline figures suggest a significant decrease in Medicaid enrollment in Florida, a deeper look reveals a more nuanced picture. The state is not only conforming to federal mandates but is also proactive in its outreach efforts and offering mechanisms for reinstatement. In a time of health crises and natural disasters, Florida’s Medicaid program is an evolving landscape, influenced by both federal policy and state-level decisions, aiming to serve those in genuine need.


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