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Florida nonprofit renews its call for a pause in Medicaid unwinding

Paper cutout family with house under a Medicaid umbrella
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The Florida Policy Institute's latest push comes after data shows Florida removed 408,000 people from its Medicaid rolls since April. Only Texas has surpassed Florida's numbers.

The Florida Policy Institute is renewing a call for the state pause its Medicaid redetermination process and to opt into policy waivers offered by federal government to reduce numbers of procedural denials.

The nonprofit's latest push comes after federal data shows Florida has removed 408,000 people from its Medicaid rolls since April, according to state and federal data. Only Texas has surpassed Florida's numbers.

Federal rules let states start dropping those who no longer qualify after they had been continuously enrolled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Enrollees must update their information with the Department of Children and Families to qualify again. But the state is drawing pushback after there were reports that some recipients were not notified of any action.

Florida could accept help from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the form of waivers that allow states to put Medicaid rules on hold to renew people or delay terminations.

Florida is one of two states that has so far declined to take advantage, along with Montana.

CMS data showed that Florida’s Medicaid redetermination process in just April resulted in 249,000 people being disenrolled, 82 percent of whom had their cases closed for procedural or “red tape” reasons, not necessarily because they were no longer eligible.

“The CMS data confirms what health care advocacy groups and nonprofits have been saying for more than a year — that redetermining Medicaid for nearly 5 million Floridians would be a tremendous undertaking and would cause tremendous coverage loss for families if the state didn’t better prepare,“ institute CEO Sadaf Knight said.

In May, when preliminary data revealed issues over disenrollment, the nonpartisan institute and 51 other organizations called on state policymakers to pause the process.

“The health and well-being of adults and children is of the utmost priority, and continuing down this redetermination path without a better grasp of the situation and more transparency in the state’s process will have deleterious effects," Knight said.

Information from WQCS was used in this report.