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Reason For Medicaid Change Doesn’t Add Up for Some

The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Medicaid enrollees in Florida will have a much shorter window to apply thanks to a change approved by the federal government. But the reason given for the change doesn't add up for some.

Florida won approval to eliminate retroactive eligibility, which gives people 90 days of Medicaid coverage prior to their application date. For example, if someone was hospitalized, he could apply for Medicaid up to three months later and the stay would still be covered.

Medicaid officials said the state should evaluate whether the change stops people from applying for Medicaid when they're sick and dropping it when they're healthy.

But Anne Swerlick with the Florida Policy Institute says that reasoning makes no sense in Florida, where most healthy adults are not eligible for Medicaid because the state did not expand the safety net program.  

“It's just patently absurd in Florida because it's only at a point of medical crisis, serious accident or disability that you may qualify for Medicaid,” Swerlick said.

Officials say the state would save about $100 million by eliminating the eligibility period.

Julio Ochoa is editor of Health News Florida.