Louisiana removed 40,000 children from its Medicaid program in June and July as part of a massive nationwide disenrollment process expected to continue through next May, according to state health department figures.
The state has also seen 49,000 people added to Medicaid during the COVID-19 pandemic dropped from the government-backed health insurance program.
The total number of people cut from Medicaid might range from 107,000 to 125,000. State Medicaid Executive Director Tara LeBlanc said the number could vary, depending on whether the people who have partial insurance – not full coverage – through the program are included.
Medicaid provides health insurance coverage to people who are low-income, pregnant or have disabilities. The majority of its funding — on average 70% — is provided by the federal government, with the state kicking in the rest of the money.
LeBlanc said many of the people removed are expected to “churn” back onto the program because they are still eligible for the benefits. Most dropped were cut because they failed to re-enroll, not because they are no longer qualified for the program, she said.
Louisiana and other states have started to cull the Medicaid rolls again after a three-year pause. In exchange for COVID-19 assistance, the federal government prohibited states from taking people off Medicaid from March 2020 to May 2023. Louisiana’s program grew by 450,000 enrollees during that time period.
Now the state must catch up and force thousands of people from the program on a compressed schedule.
Health officials are reluctant to say how many people might be permanently cut from Medicaid at the end of their months-long disenrollment process. LeBlanc said her agency will need another six months before they will understand the full scope of the changes.
The Illuminator is looking to speak to people affected by the state’s Medicaid disenrollment process. If you want to share your story, please contact us at [email protected].
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