Earlier in June, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that 17,000 poor, elderly or disabled Georgians had lost their Medicaid benefits. The Georgia Department of Community Health said their accounts were terminated for not responding to renewal notices. Now, the AJC reports state officials have revealed the full number of people slated to lose Medicaid is closer to 30,000.
Approximately 2 million Georgians receive Medicaid benefits. Many of the 17,000 already dropped – and their lawyers say they never received those notices. Now they're fighting to get their benefits back. We spoke with reporter Ariel Hart, who broke the story for the AJC. Alisa Haber, a staff attorney at the Georgia Senior Legal Hotline, also joined the conversation. She assists seniors all over the state in applying for and renewing their Medicaid benefits.
The Department of Community Health provided this statement to On Second Thought:
"The State Medicaid Agency recently removed several beneficiaries from the Medicaid program due to their failure to complete the annual renewal process. Federal regulations require that Medicaid beneficiaries reestablish their eligibility on a regular basis. The majority of the individuals terminated were enrolled in the Medicare Savings Program, and were receiving assistance with Medicare premiums. With the exception of approximately 68 individuals, the State Medicaid Agency provided timely notice informing the beneficiaries of the need to renew their eligibility. Unfortunately, the individuals who did not participate in the renewal process were deemed ineligible, and thus were removed from the Medicaid program. The State Medicaid Agency is allowing those beneficiaries who were terminated for failing to complete the reestablishment of their eligibility, the opportunity to complete the renewal process by August 31, 2019. If deemed eligible, they will receive retroactive coverage dating back to June 1, 2019. For those individuals who did not receive notice, their eligibility will be reinstated and they will be provided the opportunity to complete the renewal process."