Are you one of the two million Louisiana residents currently covered by Medicaid? If so, you, along with 40 percent of the state’s population, may be affected by recent coverage changes.
In March 2020, Medicaid recipients no longer had to requalify their income and re-enroll every year because of the COVID-19 emergency. Congress enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which played a vital part in the state’s response to the pandemic. This meant that for the last three years, no one had to have their eligibility determined, and low-income families had stable, secure healthcare coverage.
But now that the pandemic is over, the process goes back into effect this month (as of April 1). The bottom line? If you don’t re-enroll, you could lose your coverage.
Dr. Kevin Callaison, Tulane Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, says there’s a large group of people in particular who need to heed this advice. “There have been about 400,000 people added to Medicaid since 2020, and many of those people have never been through this process before,” he explained.
Experts say it will take the state 12 months to finish checking enrollment details, but up to 280,000 and 350,000 people could be dropped from Medicaid starting this June.
I’m Currently On Medicaid. What Do I Do?
First and foremost, you must confirm that Medicaid has up-to-date contact information. If the state cannot get a hold of you to confirm details, you may be dropped from the program without any notice.
Medicaid is sending out pink letters to recipients by mail to update your name, address, email address, and phone number. Answering the letter and updating your information is crucial to maintaining your coverage. Do not set it aside or put it off. It’s also important to not assume you will be covered. If you don’t reply within 60 days, you may be dropped from Medicaid.
There are Four Ways to Verify Your Information
If you need to update your information, there are four ways you can do it:
- Update your information via the Medicaid website.
- Email the Medicaid program at MyMedicaid@la.gov
- Call the Medicaid office at 1-888-342-6207. The phone line is staffed between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. If you received the letter and have questions about it, Medicaid staff can help answer any remaining questions. Or you can visit your nearest Medicaid office by using this link.
- Call your individual health plan at the following numbers:
- Aetna Better Health: 1-855-242-0802
- AmeriHealth Caritas: 1-888-756-0004
- Healthy Blue: 1-844-521-6941
- Humana Healthy Horizons: 1-800-448-3810
- Louisiana Healthcare Connections: 1-866-595-8133
- UnitedHealthcare: 1-866-675-1607
If you did not receive a letter, you can update your information online or over the phone with the Louisiana Department of Health at the number above.
And one word of caution: don’t fall for any scams pertaining to these changes. The Department of Health will NOT try to call you.
What Do I Do If I Get a Letter Saying My Coverage is Ending?
If the state chooses to cut off your Medicaid benefits, you can appeal the decision. A “fair hearing” is a free way to appeal the state’s decision to cut you off. You’ll have the hearing over the phone with an administrative law judge. Before the hearing, Medicaid will review your case again.
The state will try to requalify people who no longer qualify for Medicaid through other programs like SNAP.
Have You Been Affected? We Can Help.
Not everyone will receive the letters at the same time. When you do, you need to reply right away because not replying, even if you are eligible to continue, could cause you to lose coverage. If you’ve been affected by these changes or need help understanding any of it and wish to discuss the specifics of your case in a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer, contact us today.