Thursday, May 9, 2024
Texans face Medicaid reapplication or lose insurance.

Texans face Medicaid reapplication or lose insurance.

Changes to Texas Medicaid Rules leave many at Risk for Losing Coverage

Starting this month, Texas Medicaid recipients will be required to go through a redetermination and renewal process as the rules that expanded coverage access and eliminated annual renewal requirements during the pandemic have ended. For nearly six million Texans, this means they will have to re-apply for Medicaid coverage, while advocates worry about those who may have trouble completing the administrative hurdles required for coverage. The state has a tool to help those who need assistance with the process, with community groups offering help as well.

This process could also have negative consequences for already stretched services, with many people who qualify at risk of losing coverage temporarily due to issues with their paperwork. These individuals will turn to services like food banks for help as they struggle to pay for basic living necessities.

Furthermore, Texas is one of ten states that have not opted into expanded funding and coverage under the Affordable Care Act, which left 1.7 million Texans uninsured before the pandemic. As the pandemic’s expanded safety net disappears and inflation continues to reduce earnings, low-income families in Texas are facing a series of setbacks. In March, SNAP benefits were reduced by an average of $212 per household when pandemic-era food stamp policies ended.

A Challenging Process

Renewal notices have been sent out by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to recipients of Medicaid in yellow envelopes with “Action Required” clearly printed on them. Those who have opted for paperless communications will be notified electronically. The recipients are required to respond and complete all necessary steps within a 30-day window; otherwise, they will be disenrolled. However, if the paperwork is completed during the 30-day window, their coverage will continue while the state processes the application. Those who no longer qualify for the program will be disenrolled.

Even though the state has added over 1,000 staffers and plans to stagger redeterminations over several months, it will take more than a year to complete the process of reevaluating all 5.9 million Medicaid recipients. The state is already backlogged, and it is not clear how it will manage to process all applications in a timely manner without impacting people in the community.


About Clio Nguyen

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