Gov. Asa Hutchinson: DHS is caught up on Medicaid eligibility verification, process to resume (including cancellations) | Arkansas Blog

Gov. Asa Hutchinson: DHS is caught up on Medicaid eligibility verification, process to resume (including cancellations)

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WHITHER ASA? Hutchinson meets the press today to talk next steps in the Medicaid verification mess.
  • WHITHER ASA? Hutchinson meets the press today to talk next steps in the Medicaid verification mess.
UPDATE: Hutchinson says that DHS has eliminated the backlog and the process will now resume. That means more cancellation letters will presumably be going out soon. 

Hutchinson is stressing that there is actually wiggle room — the state is now allowing 10 days of processing time in addition to the 10-day deadline window before sending out cancellation letters, making the de facto response window 20 days. Then coverage isn't terminated for another ten days — and not until the first of the month.

Hutchinson defends the 10-day notice. He says that there would be people who didn't reply in time even if the time window was longer. "That's a result of inaction," he said.

Hutchinson defended the 10-day window by saying that it was the "status quo" — it is what previous administrations did for income verification in other programs. He also said that 10 days "invigorated the process" — he said a response window of 30 days or more would take too long and those beneficiaries who are ineligible would hang around in the program for too long, costing the state money. 

Hutchinson also mentioned the news that we broke this morning: that two of the three carriers will cover pharmacy benefits during the month of August for people whose coverage is terminated (the state will reimburse the carriers if the patient turns out to be eligible; if not, the carriers will be on the hook for the pharmacy claims). That won't help everyone but Hutchinson said it would apply to the "vast majority" of those with coverage terminations. (More details on this coming soon on the blog.) 

Asked about whether he knew that most of those who lost coverage were Medicaid eligible according to the state's own data, Hutchinson said "the client has a responsibility to verify income." 

UPDATE 2: Here is  the letter  from the governor to the legislature updating lawmakers on the next steps in the verification process. 

ORIGINAL POST: 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson will have a press conference at 1:30 today at the Capitol on the state's troubled Medicaid eligibility verification. Almost 50,000 Arkansas, most of them private option beneficiaries, are set to lose coverage — even though many are eligible for the program — because the Department of Human Services did not receive paperwork from beneficiaries in time (or weren't able to process the paperwork they did receive in time).

The governor issued a two-week moratorium on cancellation notices and coverage terminations. That is set to end today.

Benji Hardy is on hand and we'll update this post shortly.  

The D-G has an audio livestream.




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