Resources available to help navigate arduous Medicaid reapplication process
Although the pandemic health emergency ended this week, states could begin reviewing Medicaid eligibility six weeks ago. It's been a confusing process to reapply, but help is available for Floridians.
Thursday marked the end of the COVID Public Health Emergency. Part of the federal declaration was a provision that prohibited states from kicking people off Medicaid, even if they were no longer eligible.
That modified deadline actually passed March 31, when Florida and other states began reviews to determine who is now ineligible.
Before the pandemic, people would regularly lose their Medicaid coverage if they started making too much money to qualify for the program, gained health care coverage through their employer or moved to a new state.
Six weeks in, it has been a slow, confusing process.
States are notifying recipients by mail that they need to reapply when other forms of communication such as text messages are generally considered more reliable. In Florida, families are being mailed a letter with a yellow stripe on the envelope.
“Chaos at the state level is a virtual inevitability,” says Jennifer Wagner, director of Medicaid eligibility with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “There are tremendous staffing shortages. These state agencies were already understaffed.”
For those struggling with the reapplication process, navigator assistance is available from several nonprofits as well as the Florida Department of Children and Families:
- You can make an appointment in-person or virtually with a Covering Florida navigator on its website or by calling 877-813-9115.
- Residents in the Tampa Bay area can get help from the Hispanic Services Council's promotoras de salud by calling (813) 936-7700 or learn more on its website.
- The Family Healthcare Foundation has navigators in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, and Polk Counties. Residents can schedule in-person or virtual appointments on its website or call (813) 995-7005.
- The DCF Office of Economic Self Sufficiency has a customer call center residents can reach at (850) 300-4323. They can also dial 711 for Florida Relay or TTY 1-800-955-8771.
- DCF also has how-to instructional videos about the process on its Medicaid redetermination webpage.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.