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Spanish speakers reapplying for Medicaid report having longer DCF phone waits


Colleagues with a Latino civil rights organization spent three weeks calling in English and Spanish. They found Spanish speakers waited 2½ hours compared to 36 minutes for English speakers.

Spanish speakers reapplying for Medicaid have longer DCF wait times on phone

Spanish speakers are left waiting an average of 2½ hours to get through by phone to the Florida Department of Children & Families.

Stan Dorn directs the Health Policy Project at UnidosUS, a Latino civil rights organization. He and his colleagues determined the average wait time after spending three weeks calling DCF each day in English and Spanish throughout the day. They found English speakers wait an average of 36 minutes.

“Neither way is acceptable. Not many people can take a 36-minute break at work to reach a person on the Medicaid call line and renew their children's coverage to wait 2½ to reach a human being? That is locking families out of keeping Medicaid,” Dorn said.

The national advocacy group published its report this week on the difficulties.

Dorn is urging the state to use money from its budget surplus – as well as federal dollars to hire more staff at call centers.

Thousands of Floridians have been disenrolled from Medicaid since the state began redetermining eligibility in May, after a federal directive that states suspend such efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic was lifted. Florida began its process earlier than some others but committed to spreading out renewals over the course of a year.

Health care advocates have been raising the alarm about large numbers of people in Florida and nationally who are losing coverage not because they no longer qualify but because of procedural issues, such as failing to respond to renewal notices or submitting information incorrectly. They say it suggests states are not doing enough to communicate with families about the renewal process and help them navigate it.

Copyright 2023 Health News Florida