ATLANTA — Georgia’s healthcare professionals are warning of a double whammy, a financial and healthcare burden for taxpayers after tens of thousands of Georgians lost Medicaid coverage mainly due to procedural issues.
For three years during the pandemic, the federal government waived re-enrollment requirements.
But that changed this year with rolling notices going out to families, based on the date of their initial enrollment.
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The problem is a lot of people never got the notices.
“Which means that they didn’t have the correct information. They didn’t have the right contact information, right cell phone number, right email,” said Dr. Elizabeth Ford, DeKalb County CEO’s health special assistant.
Dr. Ford is leading the charge to get residents now walking around unknowingly uninsured, re-enrolled in Medicaid or PeachCare for Kids.
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Dr. Ford told Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Sophia Choi she is working with Emory University Hospital to get the word out through faith and school leaders before holding a re-enrollment event in October.
As of this month, the state sent notices to 162,000 of the 2.7 million Medicaid users in Georgia. In July, the Georgia Department of Community Health reported about 100,000 had lost coverage.
Of those, “about 41% or 160,000 have already been disenrolled—their coverage has been terminated” said Ford. She later clarified that the number of patients whose coverage was terminated was about 248,000, of the roughly 620,000 state officials had reached out to regarding their redeterminations.
In May, nearly 170,000 were sent the redetermination packets to reapply for health benefits, according to officials.
Ford told Channel 2 Action News that could lead to a cost for all of us.
“If folks not having insurance coverage are showing up in the emergency departments, the cost of care for that is multiples of what it would cost at a doctor’s office,” Ford said. “But from a health-related perspective, your child is sitting next to a child that is uninsured. And that child is ill. Your child is at risk of being ill too, irrespective of the fact that you have insurance or not.”
If you want to enroll, you cannot do it before your window opens after you receive a notice from the state.
But you can go to Gateway.ga.gov to update your contact information to make sure you get a notice.
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