Posted on Aug 31, 2023

medicaid disenrollment

The Startling Truth About Medicaid Disenrollment

Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to sound the alarm bells as we delve into the shocking unraveling of Medicaid enrollment across the nation.

Back in March, we posted about Massachusetts’ intent to drop 300,000 people from the MassHealth program (Read the article HERE). As of the latest data, after only 5 months, they are already almost halfway there! The Massachusetts government has already disenrolled over 127,000 people from MassHealth.

Why is that important? MassHealth is responsible for running the federal Medicaid program here in Massachusetts. This program provides coverage for long-term care, such as in a nursing home. People who depend on the program for their long-term care are losing their benefits.

With the Medicaid Enrollment and Unwinding Tracker revealing some distressing numbers, it's imperative that we take a closer look at the devastating impact this unwinding is having, especially on our very own Massachusetts residents.

The Disheartening Disenrollment

As of August 29, 2023, the latest data tells a somber tale - a whopping 5,504,000 Medicaid enrollees have been disenrolled across 47 states and the District of Columbia. Let that number sink in for a moment. It's as though a sea of voices, a multitude of lives, are being silenced as they lose their access to vital healthcare coverage.

But here's the real gut punch: a staggering 38% of those who underwent the renewal process were disenrolled in these reporting states. That's nearly 2 in every 5 individuals who complied with the system's requirements, only to be left stranded without the coverage they need. Can you imagine the frustration and helplessness that these individuals and families are experiencing?

Massachusetts Residents: Caught in the Crossfire

Let's zoom in on Massachusetts, a state known for its progressive values and emphasis on social safety nets. Even here, the numbers are far from comforting. A heart-wrenching 18% of enrollees who renewed their coverage found themselves disenrolled. That's nearly over 127,000 people, and 1 in every 5 individuals who were actively attempting to follow the rules yet are now left in the lurch.

Uncovering the Unfair Variation

It's astounding how the disenrollment rates vary across states, ranging from a staggering 72% in Texas to a "mere" 8% in Wyoming. What's causing this glaring inequality? Differences in renewal policies, system capacities, and even early targeting strategies contribute to this vast contrast. It's evident that this crisis is far from one-size-fits-all, as states navigate the complexities of eligibility and renewal processes.

A Procedural Nightmare

One might hope that these disenrollments were triggered by legitimate reasons, but the reality is grim. A disturbing 74% of all people who were disenrolled had their coverage terminated for procedural reasons. These aren't cases of ineligibility; they're procedural hurdles that individuals failed to navigate. This bureaucratic quagmire has led to individuals losing coverage for reasons as simple as outdated contact information or an inability to complete renewal paperwork within a specific timeframe.

Upholding Our Values

This crisis, my friends, is not just about numbers. It's about humanity, compassion, and the very values we hold dear. It's about ensuring that individuals and families, regardless of their circumstances, have access to the healthcare they need. It's about upholding our responsibility as a society to care for those who are vulnerable and in need of support.

Most of our seniors have paid into the system all their lives. They’ve worked hard, paid taxes, built up home equity, and tried to create a little bit of wealth that they can pass on to the next generation. The current regulations punish these people – they are the prime targets for disenrollment. If you have a little bit of money, MassHealth wants you off their books. These people are punished, yet they are the ones that funded the system and now need it the most!

Taking Action: Advocating for Change

As an estate planning attorney, I am deeply troubled by the implications of this unwinding crisis. Our clients, families, and friends could find themselves in the heart of this storm, navigating the maze of bureaucracy just to maintain essential healthcare coverage. This isn't the future we want for ourselves, our loved ones, or our communities.

It's time to raise our voices, to demand accountability and change from those in power. Let us advocate for a system that prioritizes the wellbeing of its citizens, that upholds the values we hold dear. And for those who are grappling with this crisis, know that we stand with you. If you need guidance on how to protect your interests, ensure your assets are safeguarded, and prepare for the unexpected, reach out to us. Let's work together to navigate these turbulent times and emerge stronger, with our values and compassion intact.

Remembering the Unintended Consequences

As the unwinding of the Medicaid continuous enrollment provision continues, millions are expected to lose Medicaid coverage. What may have seemed like a policy change with good intentions has led to unintended consequences that are tearing through the lives of everyday individuals. It's time to rethink and address these issues, for the sake of our collective wellbeing.

What else can you do?

The answer is simple – don’t go it alone. If you are applying for a MassHealth renewal, they are salivating at the thought of you trying to do it yourself. Hire an attorney to help you. One that knows the system, and how to fight it. One who isn't afraid to file a lawsuit against MassHealth if need be. At Monteforte Law, we filed lawsuits regularly, and we don’t stand for MassHealth’s games. Learn More here.

Michael Monteforte, Jr.
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