Louisiana, Federal Government, Medicaid discussed on Behind The Lens

Behind The Lens


Support our work the lens. No dot org slash. Tony thank you okay. Phillip tens of thousands of medicaid recipients will begin receiving letters. Alerting them they may need to reapply for benefits. When the nation's public health emergency ends medicaid participation increased in louisiana and nationwide throughout the pandemic an emergency expansion of eligibility how did medicaid eligibility change over the last year. And a half. So what has happened to interconnected federal policies that religion the landscape in louisiana and nationwide up to the the first step is to help states respond to dramatic surge in Medicaid enrollment the federal government increased proportion of medicaid costs that it covers the constitutionally split between the state and the federal government and across the country. The federal government picked up a bigger tab essentially and in exchange for that they're required all states to basically stop conducting eligibility checks It was called a maintenance of effort role And so in essence they asked allstate's to keep everyone who is on medicaid and rolled on medicaid through the end of the public health emergency. And that's a big deal in louisiana because not only do we require people to and this is. The federally dictated policy require people to renew their eligibility every year. That's supposed to happen automatically. But sometimes it involves It involved asking recipients for supporting documentation on a case-by-case basis but we also since we've twenty eighteen had been conducting quarterly wage checks Which involves using a louisiana workforce commission database to automatically verify whether or not a household is still eligible based on limits for medicaid And normal that results in lots of people being disembowelled the on a quarterly basis. And without pause we've seen not only a surgeon enrollment but a maintenance in the roles which has led to a spike in on medicaid right. So what was the increase in. Louisiana saw total medicaid enrollment. Go up by about three hundred thousand people and a little more than half of that came from people. Enrolling the state's medicaid expansion population which is the expansion to state medicaid eligibility passed under audible. Care act to end. That was implemented in louisiana by john bel edwards when he first took office said that's the medicaid the covers low-income adults essentially once of other parts of it that cover people who were about to go through childbirth their children there's people on disability but by far the of chunk that has contributed most to the The increase during the pandemic is this poll of low income adults. Okay and now they're there signaling that this time is changing soon. The notion is that you need to be ready to go back to the old playbook which is eligibility checks re-enroll moment. When do we expect all of those things to happen. That's actually been exchanging target over the last six months. Because the trump administration renewed the public health emergency on a quarterly basis and didn't necessarily give states a lot of notice as to whether or not it would continue to be renewed each subsequent quarter when the biden administration took office in january. They sent a letter to you. every governor in the country saying we intend to keep the public health emergency in place until the end of twenty twenty one at least so we know that or at least we have assurances from the federal government that the public health emergency will be in place for about another six months it could be extended after that totally unknown But in december so again the trump administration the federal agency that administers medicaid released a guidance to the states essentially saying you need to start preparing to resume eligibility checks and the state medicaid said in a statement to me that they're anticipating More guidance coming down from the current administration soon so we may see changes there but in the meantime with they've begun doing is in january. They began Sending out letters to people who had overdue renewal so people who would have needed to go through the standard annual renewal upsets early in the pandemic to be sent those letters in january. They just began sending letters to people who didn't respond essentially telling them that because they have not renewed their eligibility. They're still covered through the end of public health but they will be disassembled to win it and Today say that in a presentation to go to legislature in december of last year on medicaid said that they anticipate that at least one hundred and sixty thousand people will be when the public health emergency errands. It's probably higher number now because a little bit of time has passed since then in that they expect an overwhelming workload once that does happen where they're just processing a year and a half plus of of these eligibility changes advocated. I was gonna ask So so we have a a large cut people who seem it looks like they may be just enrolled we have. We have new enroll as beyond that may not be dismantled and among the distant rural population. Were probably going to have a significant chunk of them trying to reapply just as does state have the capacity deal with all this kind of the open question that i Am hoping to get more information on soon. I mean we know that early. In the pandemic and throughout the pandemic their enrollment process as with a lot of welfare programs during the pandemic were overwhelmed by applicants and again to the legislature. They basically said we're going to be. I mean they literally said they're going to be overwhelmed by the task of sorting out. Who is and isn't eligible. That may be alleviated slightly by the fact that the public health emergency has been extended for until the end of this year at the time in december they issued this report they were operating under the trump administration. Sort of uncertainty of renewal answer. They were actually estimating that the public health emergency would end in january of this year so six months ago and that was really what they were describing as being crushing still. They're they're talking about.

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