TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Department of Children and Families is working to redetermine who is eligible for Medicaid benefits after the ongoing coverage that was given during the height of the pandemic ends on March 31.
In a presentation to state senators on the Health Policy Committee on Monday, DCF explained its plan for rolling back coverage for many people receiving health care benefits.
“We want to prioritize exceptional customer service through strong communication in community partnerships. We’re getting out there and meeting with our associations and different Medicaid health plans, our different community partners to make sure that we’re all seeing it from the same sheet of music, right? We want to make sure that we do not incite panic out there,” said Casey Penn, DCF’s assistant secretary for the Office of Economic Self-Sufficiency.
Penn’s team explained that about a quarter of Florida’s population receives Medicaid, which increased during the pandemic. Many of these are children and pregnant women. Currently, 54% of Florida’s children are recipients.
Penn expects to see fewer people receiving the benefits because of factors like an improving economy. He also said higher wages and lower unemployment rates are reasons for ending benefits for many.
For those who may no longer receive Medicaid benefits come April 1, Penn said Florida Healthy Kids is an alternative option. He said DCF will be in touch with families.
“We know there are going to be certain enrollees that are no longer eligible for Medicaid. Just on the basis of their income changing. Our economy is doing great. But that doesn’t mean that you’re just left alone, right? If we do a Medicaid re-determination and determine that you’re ineligible, the department does have a number of processes in place that put an automated referral into other sources for you,” he said.
Floridians currently receiving Medicaid should look out for text messages and mail with alerts on how to prove that you are still eligible.