Tampa Bay Times – Hundreds of thousands of Florida’s poorest children could lose health insurance next year when the federal government is expected to end expanded Medicaid coverage put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The looming crisis has prompted a coalition of 40 Florida nonprofits, health organizations and child advocacy groups to sign a letter sent Wednesday to Gov. Ron DeSantis, urging the state to release its plans for managing the transition.
The number of Floridians relying on the federal program that provides medical coverage for individuals with disabilities and very low-income families and children rose by 1.7 million during the public health emergency to 5.5 million, roughly one quarter of the state’s population.
That was largely the result of the federal government paying states additional money to keep people covered through the federal program during the pandemic even though they were no longer eligible, according to a study by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.
But that money will dry up when the federal government ends the public health emergency declaration, possibly as soon as April.
Florida has yet to publish a plan on how it will deal with Medicaid recipients who are no longer eligible and at risk of losing health coverage.
The state also faces the burden of having to recertify the eligibility of its 5.5 million recipients, a potential logjam that could force it to hire hundreds of additional workers.
“The public health emergency unwind will mean a tsunami of coverage loss,” said Alison Yeager, executive director of the Florida Health Justice Project.
“We know who’s going to be hit the hardest by this loss — parents, children and young adults, postpartum women and the elderly and disabled.”
Florida Department of Children and Families officials said in a statement released Wednesday that they are working with the Agency for Health Care Administration, community partners and other state agencies …