By Consumers for Quality Care, on December 20, 2023
As states continue to redetermine their residents’ eligibility for Medicaid, many consumers who have been improperly disenrolled from Medicaid are also finding it harder to stay enrolled in other public assistance programs.
Medicaid redeterminations, as described recently by KFF Health News, are creating turmoil in government-administered systems across the country. In states like Montana, Missouri, and Virginia, consumers are struggling to connect with state eligibility workers, thanks to lost applications, endless wait times, and other administrative barriers. As a result, some of these consumers are losing access to programs like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) in addition to losing their health coverage under Medicaid.
For many Americans, these programs are their only means to support themselves and their families. “Our clients are already living on a razor’s edge, and this can just knock them off,” said Megan Dishong, Deputy Director of the Montana Legal Services Association, an organization that helps eligible applicants obtain public benefits.
A piece from The Washington Post highlights the case of Beverly Likens, a Kentucky resident who suffers from severe anemia. She lost Medicaid coverage just before she was scheduled to have surgery because her state improperly determined that she was ineligible for coverage. Although Likens was eventually reinstated to Medicaid and was able to have her surgery, this happened only after several delays and many frustrating exchanges with government health officials. Likens’s struggle to regain coverage for her surgery highlights the broader concern: the fact that many consumers across the country are being denied their right to health care access.
CQC urges lawmakers and regulators to ensure that consumers do not face any lapses in health care coverage or any other public assistance programs as a result of Medicaid redeterminations.