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Health News Florida

Florida's budget bill could help with Medicaid changes

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Tom Wallace, an AHCA deputy secretary, says that state and federal officials have had “back and forth” since December about proposed changes in what is known as a waiver that plays a critical role in the Medicaid program.

Part of a budget-related bill that Florida lawmakers passed last week could help clear the way for federal approval of changes in the state’s Medicaid program.

Tom Wallace, a deputy secretary at the Agency for Health Care Administration, said Tuesday that state and federal officials have had “back and forth” since December about proposed changes in what is known as a waiver that plays a critical role in the Medicaid program.

One of the proposed changes seeks to extend from 60 days to 12 months the length of time that Medicaid covers health care for women after they have babies. Lawmakers in 2021 approved that proposal, a priority of House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, but it needed approval from the federal government.

As part of the talks, the federal government also sought the extension of postpartum care for girls who are covered through the Florida KidCare insurance program and ineligible for Medicaid. Lawmakers included that in a budget-related bill (SB 2526) that passed last week.

The bill, in part, says girls enrolled in the KidCare program would be eligible for coverage for the “duration of a pregnancy and the postpartum period consisting of the 12-month period beginning on the last day of a pregnancy, if such pregnancy or postpartum period begins prior to the child reaching 19 years of age.”

Wallace told members of the state Medical Care Advisory Committee that he thinks the state is close to getting federal approval of the changes.