Thousands of Arizona Residents May Lose Medicaid Coverage
More than 600,000 people could be purged from Arizona’s Medicaid plan starting this April 2023. According to the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), of the 600,000 members at risk, approximately half of them could lose coverage for failing to respond to requests for determining eligibility and half could simply no longer be eligible.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the AHCCCS had not removed anyone from Medicaid, regardless of eligibility. States had been prohibited from doing so even if changes in income or other factors would cause a recipient to no longer qualify for the program. Through the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) enacted in December 2022, Congress ordered states to begin checking enrollment again and canceling coverage for those who no longer qualified as of April 1.
Arizona started reviewing eligibility in February and expects to take up to a year to check all 2.5 million people who are currently in the system.
Even though the AHCCCS has vowed to make sure eligible members remain covered and to work with those who are no longer eligible to find other sources of health care coverage, advocates say the process creates uncertainty for recipients.
“This is just creating anxiety, first and foremost, among those that currently have coverage and could lose it in the coming weeks and months,” said Dr. Daniel Derksen, director of University of Arizona’s Center for Rural Health. “But it also creates ripples in the clinics, and the hospitals, the health providers, that will have to carry a larger burden of uncompensated care.”
An AHCCCS spokesperson says they’re working with the Department of Economic Security to ease the process for families in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) so that they can renew both programs at the same time. Families also receiving the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) benefits may be able to keep them, even if they no longer qualify for Medicaid.
I’m Currently On Medicaid, What Do I Do?
Approximately 75 percent of eligibility determinations are able to be completed automatically and members will not need to take any action. If your eligibility is continued, then you will remain enrolled and will receive a summary letter that says, “If the information on the summary is correct, you do not need to do anything. You do not need to call or contact AHCCCS.”
To ensure that you do not experience any gap in health care coverage, AHCCCS asks that you:
- Make sure your mailing address, phone number, and email address on file with Health-e-Arizona PLUS is correct. Login or call 1-855-HEA-PLUS (1-855-432-7587), Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Learn how to update your contact information here (Spanish version).
- Sign up for text or email alerts from AHCCCS.
- Check your mailbox for any letter or correspondence from AHCCCS about renewal of coverage.
- Respond to any requests from AHCCCS for more information so the agency can accurately determine eligibility.
- Need more help? Contact your health plan or a community assistor organization to help you with AHCCCS or KidsCare renewals. You’ll find the number for your health plan on your member ID card or this page.
Those who are not able to be checked automatically will get a letter asking for information that could keep them on the plan. About half of those who lose their plans will do so because of ineligibility – being over the income limits or not fulfilling other requirements – and the other half will lose coverage because they failed to update their information. You’ll have 30 days to respond. And if you don’t respond in time, you’ll be disenrolled, but you’ll also have another 90 days to apply for reinstatement.
Have You Been Affected? We Can Help.
Individuals who no longer qualify for AHCCCS or KidsCare may have other health care coverage options through the HealthCare Marketplace. 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 Tucson personal injury lawyer, contact us today.