State Medicaid officials had previously estimated the eligibility would affect about 39,000 people annually — with pregnant women and children exempt — and amount to $98 million.
Floridians will now have less time to apply for Medicaid coverage if they want healthcare costs retroactively covered, after federal officials approved a state request Friday to shorten how far back the state's program can pick up the bill.
The change, which critics have charged will limit access to healthcare for the poor, elderly and those with disabilities, means those who qualify for the safety-net program now have up to 30 days of retroactive eligibility once they qualify for Medicaid, as opposed to the original 90 days. After approval from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which oversees the safety net program, the 30-day policy will go into effect Feb. 1 and remain in place until June 30 unless state lawmakers vote to extend the change.
The state Agency for Health Care Administration requested the policy change in the spring, after lawmakers earlier this year voted to support shortening the retroactive eligibility period over the objections of some Democratic colleagues. State Medicaid officials had previously estimated the eligibility would affect about 39,000 people annually — with pregnant women and children exempt — and amount to $98 million. The agency also contended that the change would not harm applicants so long as they submitted their paperwork on time.
But during a public comment period, the federal agency received hundreds of comments, all critical of the change: that it would financially hurt providers and patients, impede continuous care or limit access to healthcare services for older patients and those with disabilities in particular.
Continue reading on The Tampa Bay Times.