The state has begun issuing notices of termination for people who may no longer be eligible for Medicaid or the Georgia Children’s Health Insurance program.
Over the next year, Georgia will reassess nearly three million Medicaid members for continued health coverage.
The earliest that Medicaid or PeachCare for Kids members could lose their health coverage is June 1st.
Anyone who is notified of a possible termination has an additional 90 days to submit the requested documents to the state. You can also appeal.
During the official pandemic public health emergency that ended May 11, the federal government prohibited states from cutting Medicaid coverage for their members.
The aim was to ensure people had health insurance when they needed it during the crisis.
With the COVID-19 emergency now over, the federal government is requiring all states to recertify the eligibility of each individual Medicaid member.
Lynnette Rhodes, executive director of medical assistance plans at the Department of Community Health, said the state is initially using records from SNAP and TANF to automatically renew all Medicaid members who also participate in those programs and remain eligible for health coverage
“Those who cannot be automatically renewed will be contacted to provide the necessary information,” she said.
So far, the state has automatically renewed more than 5,100 people. Another approximately 7,400 whose names were matched using SNAP and TANF have not yet been renewed.
Figures are expected by the end of May that will show exactly how many people will be fired in the first round of recertification for Medicaid or PeachCare for Kids.
Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the administrator of the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, was in Atlanta Monday.
She said it’s critical that states inform Medicaid recipients to update their personal contact information with their Medicaid plans and to monitor their emails for notifications.
“This is a time when all hands are on deck and will continue to evolve over the next year,” Brooks-LaSure said. “We all need to focus on making sure people know they need to either re-enroll in Medicaid or apply for market insurance.”
Georgia’s downturn comes as the state also prepares to launch its occupational Medicaid program, Georgia Pathways to Coverage.
Pathways requires low-income adults age 64 and younger on Medicaid to work or volunteer 80 hours per month to receive health insurance under the program.
Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock has criticized the work-requirements program and said he will continue to push for a full expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that full expansion would protect nearly half a million Georgians with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty line, equivalent to $17,609 for an individual in 2020.
“And the plan proposed by state-level politicians only covers a small fraction of those people. There are far too many Georgians, hundreds of thousands, unnecessarily left out of coverage,” Warnock said.
This fall, the state is also expected to launch a federal Affordable Care Act marketplace for Georgians who currently use the Healthcare.gov website.
And health advocates have raised concerns that introducing pathways and a state exchange this year, while recertifying nearly three million Medicaid members for their eligibility, could create confusion.
“Some people currently covered by Medicaid will be transitioning to the ACA marketplace as a result of the settlement, and we don’t want this process to become any more confusing or difficult than it already is,” said Georgians for a Healthy executive director Future Laura Colbert. “If Georgia moves to a state market mid-process, it means it places an additional burden on our Medicaid agency. They must update their notices. They need to make it clear to Georgia Medicaid members that if they are opted out and eligible for ACA insurance, they need to go somewhere new and not to Healthcare.gov. That will be an additional difficulty.”
The state Department of Insurance has sent a formal request to the US Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services to expedite the timeline for launching the Georgia-powered marketplace.
The agency typically requires states to take at least 15 months to set up their statewide marketplaces.
A spokesman for Gov. Brian Kemp’s office said the extra time was not needed because Georgia had already partially completed the new state stock exchange website.
It is now up to CMS to approve whether the state will give clearance for the fall launch of the new website.
CMS will also have oversight when the state launches the market, Brooks-LaSure said.
“We have standards when we let states take over the market. And we will ensure that Georgia, if it chooses to, adheres to the standards that we set by law,” Brooks-LaSure said.
Click here for information on preparing for Medicaid recertification.