Log in Subscribe

FL’s review of Medicaid eligibility could lead to more than 250,000 uninsured, experts say


More than 250,000 Floridians could become uninsured because of the way state agencies are reevaluating eligibility for Medicaid, according to an analysis from public health policy experts at George Washington University.

The analysis published Friday in the Health Affairs journal estimates that 169,000 adults and 84,500 children in Florida will not have insurance by spring, roughly a year after the process of reviewing people’s eligibility started. The Department of Children and Families and the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration have until March to decide how many are still eligible for the health care program meant for low-income people.

Researchers Leighton Ku, MaryBeth and Musumeci Sara Rosenbaum calculated the estimate after reviewing the rate of people dropped from Medicaid and previous research about the numbers of uninsured Floridians and children who depend on public coverage. Black and Latino Floridians will be the most harmed by the process, the researchers wrote in the analysis.

Florida is the focus of the analysis because of a lawsuit filed against officials at AHCA and DCF, alleging that the agencies didn’t properly inform people about the eligibility review, Ku told Florida Phoenix in a phone interview. Just next week, a judge in the U.S. District Court of the Middle District of Florida will hear a preliminary injunction seeking the restoration of Medicaid benefits for the people who have been dropped.

“We wrote about this specifically in regard to that lawsuit, so it’s not as though we were sort of choosing Florida willy-nilly. I’m from the state of Texas; Texas has not been a shining example of this either,” Ku said.

This is not the first time George Washington University experts have raised concerns about the number of Floridians who have lost healthcare coverage since states started disenrolling people after the end of the federal COVID-19 emergency. In August, the executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families appeared at a press conference with Florida health care policy and advocacy groups about the state’s handling of the situation.

Additionally, the analysis highlights that most of the 823,000 people dropped from the health care program between April and September lost their coverage for procedural reasons. Health policy group KFF puts the number of procedural terminations in Florida at 435,000. Procedural terminations happen when people don’t complete the renewal process either because the state has outdated contact information or because the person does not submit the documentation necessary to determine eligibility.

“People who lose coverage for procedural problems are at risk of delaying or forgoing preventive care and/or ongoing care for chronic conditions,” the analysis states. “This could exacerbate racial/ethnic health disparities and worsen health outcomes. A more careful approach, that maintains their Constitutional rights to clear notification and appeal rights, would reduce the harm to low-income Floridians.”

Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Diane Rado for questions: info@floridaphoenix.com. Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.


4 comments on this item

Only paid subscribers can comment
Please log in to comment by clicking here.

  • Cat L

    If 100% of medicine is for profit, medicine is never going to fully serve the people.

    Friday, December 8, 2023 Report this

  • jimandlope

    Governor Rick Scott opted out of Medicaid with federal government before Covid. That was a mistake then and it’s snowballing now. Shortsightedness is what happened. James Tierney

    Friday, December 8, 2023 Report this

  • dreed135

    DeSantis has now started campaign rhetoric that if elected president he will lower the cost of health insurance for all Americans. In the meantime, here in Florida where he is already the top executive, our property, auto and now health care all in chaos and costs out of control. It seems to me he should clean the house he currently runs before making promises he probably can’t keep given the insurance situation he currently has control over.

    Friday, December 8, 2023 Report this

  • rayfusco68

    Our health caste system is a disgrace. The number one cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States is healthcare debt. 20

    Our health caste system is a disgrace, it is designed for the profiteers not healthcare. The number one cause of personal bankruptcy in the US is healthcare debt. 20% of Florida's budget is spent on Medicaid, if we had universal healthcare that expense would go away including the bureaucracy that it takes to run it. That portion of the budget could then be used to address issues like the insurance crisis facing all homeowners in the Florida.

    Saturday, December 9, 2023 Report this