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Arkansas Serves As A Warning As 45,000 People Are Thrown Off Their Medicaid Coverage

By May 9, 2023May 11th, 2023No Comments

Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, Arkansas posted an update on its Medicaid redeterminations, commonly known as the Medicaid unwinding, showing that 45,000 people have already lost their health care coverage. Of those who lost their Medicaid, 40 percent are newborns or children. And, according to Arkansas officials, 72 percent have lost their coverage because of procedural issues. 

Congress passed legislation at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to protect access to Medicaid by ensuring no one could be disenrolled during the public health emergency. This provision expired on April 1, and an estimated 15 million people nationwide are at risk of losing coverage, disproportionately impacting rural Americans, people with disabilities, people of color, and children. States are working to re-evaluate their Medicaid rolls, but Republican-led states like Arkansas are often moving too quickly to throw people off of Medicaid without ensuring that they know their rights or eligibility for financial assistance under the Affordable Care Act or other health care programs. 

For additional background: Protect Our Care recently hosted events with Reps. Kathy Castor and Colin Allred, Tri-Caucus Chairs Nanette Barragán, Judy Chu, and Steven Horsford, and Senator Bob Casey and Rep. Debbie Dingell to discuss the urgent need for governors to do the right thing and protect health care coverage.

“It’s clear that Arkansas has one goal in mind: rip away health care from as many people as possible as quickly as possible,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “People should not lose their health care  because they didn’t quickly meet paperwork requirements or because they didn’t receive information about staying enrolled. Governors need to do the right thing and do everything in their power to keep people enrolled. Unfortunately, this seems to be just the latest salvo in the ongoing Republican war on America’s health care.” 


Politico: Arkansas’ Tale On Medicaid Unwinding. “New data from Arkansas shows Medicaid unwinding is going how state officials had hoped — and many consumer advocates had feared. Nearly 45,000 Arkansans who had remained on Medicaid because of pandemic protections had their coverage terminated in April. Eighty-five percent lost their insurance for procedural reasons — because they failed to return their renewal forms or other requested information, or because the state couldn’t locate them — according to data published by the state Department of Human Services.” [Politico, 5/9/23]

Arkansas Democrat Gazette: Nearly 73,000 Medicaid Beneficiaries In Arkansas Lose Coverage In April. “The cases of 72,802 Medicaid beneficiaries in Arkansas were closed at the end of April because they are either no longer eligible for Medicaid or didn’t return requested information necessary to determine their eligibility, the Arkansas Department of Human Services reported Monday. The closed cases include 44,667 Medicaid beneficiaries whose coverage had been previously extended because of special eligibility rules during the federal public public health emergency and 28,135 other Medicaid beneficiaries whose coverage was closed as part of normal operations…” [Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 5/8/23]