Indianz.Com > News > Cronkite News: Millions of Americans lose Medicaid insurance due to ‘laxation’
AHCCCS Reaches Recipients and Community to Help Unwind Medicaid
Thursday, October 12, 2023
By Oakley Seiter
PHOENIX, Arizona – Over the past six months, the country has been experiencing a Medicaid “rollback,” in which millions of individuals who were enrolled in Medicaid health insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic are being canceled because their current income makes them ineligible. States are now removing people from their enrollment systems because enhanced federal funding that paid for Medicaid expansion during the COVID-19 pandemic is running out. The state agency that administers Medicaid payments to Arizona residents is the Arizona Healthcare Cost Containment System (AHCCCS). On April 1, AHCCCS began the process of reviewing all 2.5 million Arizonans enrolled in Medicaid through federal databases that verified that a certain number of people were still eligible to remain on Medicaid automatically. AHCCCS sent renewal forms to those who were not automatically eligible to check their information for errors or to verify that they are, in fact, over the income limit. Heidi Capriotti, communications administrator for AHCCCS, said they are re-evaluating and redetermining enrollees’ eligibility, looking at income and medical criteria, and contacting members for additional information if needed. As of September 8 of this year, we have started renewals for approximately 1.5 million people and there are still about 1 million people left, Capriotti said. Capriotti said the main cause of unsubscription is people’s lack of response when additional information is needed. So far, 32% of renewals have been approved and 11% have been discontinued. One-third of people who have been terminated from Medicaid in Arizona are children. People need to respond, Capriotti said. We also encourage people to respond even if they think they are no longer eligible. Especially parents, because children can move to CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (KidsCare), even if the parents don’t meet Medicaid eligibility criteria. In some states, children were removed from Medicaid coverage because their parents exceeded the adult eligibility limit, even though the children still met eligibility criteria. On August 30, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a call to action on these state system issues. According to the agency, nearly 500,000 children and other individuals who were wrongfully terminated from Medicaid or CHIP will regain their coverage. Arizona has been evaluating family members individually. This means that even if a parent does not meet Medicaid qualifications, their children can still meet the criteria and transition to CHIP. Matt Jewett, director of health policy at Childrens Action Alliance, said this approach of automatically renewing eligible children even when their parents are ineligible is the right way to do it. Another call to action came on September 29 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which sent a letter to state health officials reinforcing that states must provide 12 months of continuous coverage for children under age 19 on Medicaid and Insurance. of Child Health. Program (CHIP) starting January 1, 2024.
For more stories from Cronkite News, visit cronkitenews.azpbs.org.
Note: This story originally appeared on Cronkite News. It is published under a Creative Commons license. Cronkite News is produced by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
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