Health Advice



After losing Medicaid, parents of Florida's sickest kids are in limbo

Caroline Catherman, Orlando Sentinel on

Published in Health & Fitness

If the department doesn’t get a response, it conducts additional outreach for those who might normally be terminated for being non-responsive, she said.

“This level of outreach goes above and beyond the requirements of the federal government and is further evidence of our commitment to supporting recipients through the process,” she wrote, adding that people no longer eligible are automatically referred to KidCare, a state health insurance option for families who make too much money for Medicaid.

Yet dozens of people have told the nonprofit Florida Health Justice Project they didn’t get advance warning and didn’t find out their coverage was up for review until they were already losing it, said Florida Health Justice Project founder Miriam Harmatz.

In some cases, the children were terminated not because they were ineligible but because their parents didn’t receive instructions from DCF on how to keep coverage, Harmatz said. Those families then faced high call center wait times and are not always given information about their right to appeal the termination, she added.

“A significant number appear to have fallen through the cracks,” Harmatz said. “We received a tremendous number of requests for advice and help from parents who only learned their child’s loss of Medicaid from their medical providers in late March. They tried to reach out to DCF and either could not get through or got incorrect information.”

Easter Sunday cutoff


On Easter Sunday, coverage for most children with complex chronic conditions was set to expire. Some, but not all, ended up getting an extension until the end of April, Harmatz said. But even those who got an extension are stumped on what to do or why they lost coverage, she added.

The Orlando Sentinel shared the story last month of Kaitlin Maron, who found out her son was set to lose Medicaid coverage by chance at a routine doctor’s appointment. She, too, said she never saw any warnings despite thoroughly checking her inbox, mailbox, phone and MyACCESS state account. She didn’t realize she could appeal the decision until she talked to the Florida Health Justice Project.

Her son’s Medicaid was also originally set to end March 31 but was extended through the end of April. He didn’t experience a coverage gap and she has been told he will continue to qualify as long as he remains eligible for Supplemental Security Income, a program that provides cash payments to low-income and disabled people.

Yet after significant time devoted to addressing the situation, she still has “no explanation” as to why he was set to lose Medicaid in the first place.


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