How Medicaid Enrollees Can Avoid Losing Coverage
April 20, 2023 Update
Florida had 22 Million residents last year, and almost 25% of those utilized Medicaid or Florida Kidcare for their health coverage. 1.7 Million residents joined Medicaid during the Covid-19 public health emergency (PHE), including 500,000 children. Now that the pandemic is winding down, there is another kind of unwinding taking place which could result in a million Medicaid recipients losing that coverage sometime during the next year.
Those needing coverage should reach out for free help available through the state’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) or through the Florida Covering Kids & Families Organization.
During the PHE, Florida and the other states were paid by the federal government to keep its residents safely enrolled no matter their income status or situation. Those payments are now ending, and the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) has begun Medicaid Redeterminations to review the eligibility of all Medicaid recipients, removing any who no longer qualify for the benefit.
DCF has already identified around 900,000 individuals it said were no longer eligible based on their 2022 income information. A similar number of individuals had not responded to requests from the state for additional information about their income. Those individuals who are enrolled, but who moved or lost housing, may not receive important renewal and other notices, especially if they have not updated their contact information with their Florida’s Department of Children and Families MyAccess account. DCF has begun mailing “Yellow Striped” notices to let Medicaid enrollees know what they need to do to find out if they can stay in Medicaid, or if no longer eligible, how to transition into other health coverage like the Affordable Care Act Marketplace or Florida KidCare. If any notice is undeliverable or gets lost, or worse, ignored by those unaware of the impending changes, enrollees and their families risk losing their coverage because DCF is unable to reach them with the important information about their coverage.
Certain individuals, including people who have moved, immigrants, people with limited English language ability and people with disabilities will be at increased risk of losing Medicaid. Enrollees who have moved may also not receive the critical renewal and other notices, especially if they have not updated their contact information in their MyAccess account. Although DCF provides Spanish and Creole translations, people with limited English language ability are more likely to encounter challenges due to the language barriers while accessing information. Some individuals will be at higher risk of losing, or, experiencing a gap in coverage when the continuous enrollment ends as of March 31st. and while the state processes redeterminations and disenrollments. A primary concern will be an expected rise in the number of Floridians losing coverage, causing the state’s uninsured rate to zoom, leaving many residents, including children, with no access to medical care
Those losing coverage may be eligible for other programs and will automatically be referred by DCF to Florida KidCare, the Medically Needy Program or the federal health insurance Marketplace, aka Healthcare.gov.
Current Medicaid enrollees should update their contact information on the ACCESS website (myflorida.com/accessflorida) or through the DCF call center at 850-300-4323 or (www.myflfamilies.com/contact-us). Call center wait times are long, so DCF is encouraging enrollees to instead make the changes through their MyAccess account online. Our non-profit team, based at The University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, works statewide with multiple engaged stakeholders in Public Health advocacy, outreach, and health coverage enrollment. Our coalition of partners include a team of assisters with Florida Connecting Kids to Coverage and Covering Florida Navigator programs.
Our Navigators and Assisters provide free assistance to anyone in need of help and/or other coverage options. Reach us through our toll-free line at 877-813-9115 or online at CoveringFlorida.org for your free appointment today!
Jodi Ray, Director, Florida Covering Kids & Families at the University of South Florida College of Public Health in Tampa