July 28, 2023

Statement on Newly-Released CMS Data

Official data released today by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) show that Florida’s Medicaid redetermination process, in the month following the end of federal “continuous coverage” provisions, resulted in 249,427 Floridians being disenrolled, 82 percent of whom had their cases closed for procedural or “red tape” reasons, not necessarily because they were no longer eligible. The data released by CMS shows Florida pushed more people off Medicaid in the first month of the redetermination process than any other state.

For the first time, official data backs up the stories shared by Floridians having difficulty getting through to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) on the phone to get help with their redeterminations: in April, Florida was second to last in the percent of calls to DCF abandoned by consumers (48%--50 out of 51 states and DC) and had the third longest wait times (40 minutes on average–49 out of 51 states and DC).  

In light of this official data, Florida Policy Institute (FPI) reiterated
calls for the state to pause its Medicaid redetermination process and to opt into policy waivers offered by CMS in order to reduce numbers of procedural denials.

The CMS data confirms what health care advocacy groups and nonprofits have been saying for more than a year — that redetermining Medicaid for nearly 5 million Floridians would be a tremendous undertaking and would cause tremendous coverage loss for families if the state didn’t better prepare.

Back in May, when preliminary data surfaced showing that a large share of Floridians whose coverage was terminated had been disenrolled from Medicaid for procedural reasons, FPI and 51 other organizations called on state policymakers to pause the redetermination process.

We are again urging the Department of Children and Families and Gov. DeSantis to temporarily pause Florida’s Medicaid ‘unwinding’ and conduct a thorough analysis of systemic problems, including the woefully inadequate phone system. Florida is also the only state in the nation to refuse the option of policy waivers from CMS, which would allow the department to reduce red tape for families who are trying to navigate a labyrinth of confusing notices and hours-long call wait times. The state should opt into appropriate waivers, which would allow them to reduce unnecessary procedural disenrollments, and preserve health care access for eligible, vulnerable children and families.

The health and well-being of adults and children is of the utmost priority, and continuing down this redetermination path without a better grasp of the situation and more transparency in the state’s process will have deleterious effects.

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